Member of blind Westmoreland family dies in fire

October 25, 2021
Shanielle Baker perished in a fire at her home of Friday.
Shanielle Baker perished in a fire at her home of Friday.
Derrick Baker, father of the deceased.
Derrick Baker, father of the deceased.

Shanielle Baker, one of four members of a Westmoreland family that has been afflicted by blindness, lost her life in a fire on Friday.

Baker, 32, perished in the blaze that destroyed her unfinished two-bedroom board dwelling in Crowder district in the parish.

The police's Corporate Communications Unit said the fire began sometime after 2:00 in the morning. The police also say that they are yet to determine what started the fire, but confirmed that Baker's remains were found under a bed after the fire had subsided.

The deceased's father, Derrick Baker, 54, told THE STAR yesterday that despite his best efforts he could not save his daughter, who he said was well-loved, and has left behind two children.

"Mi inna mi sleep and around 2 o'clock dem come wake mi up and tell mi say mi daughter house under fire. When time mi run out and go look, everything bun down. Di only thing mi hear she a say was 'Daddy! Daddy!', and all the try wi try fi tek har out dah fire deh more than wi," Baker said.

"Di more we try the more fire come out pon wi, mi could only say 'lawd mi lose mi daughter'... Mi turn fool and di more wi throw water, the fire get badder. She was a nice and loving person, everybody tek on to her," he said.

The Baker family was twice highlighted in this newspaper as a result of four members being blindand in need. The matriarch, Viris Lynch, went blind several years ago after being affected by a rare eye disease, and this disease also affected her youngest daughter Vanessa Baker, who lost her sight at age 14 while still going to high school.

Lynch's eldest daughter, Shanielle, then lost her sight in 2015, followed by her second daughter Veneisha Baker, who lost her sight in 2017.

The distraught father said that the family has been badly shaken by Friday's tragedy.

"Everybody a cry now because dem just cyah believe say she gone suh. Wi just a try hold the faith, but a from Friday when it happen mi a bawl and all now mi cyah stop. Mi feel it fi mi daughter enuh man, til di wul a mi belly bottom a hurt mi."

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