A two-year-six-months old child has died whilst his 10-year-old sister suffered severe burns when the house they were sleeping in caught fire in Lusaka’s Chaisa Compound in the early hours of January 1.

In a statement, Police Spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo stated that the children’s mother locked them in the house to go drinking.

“A two year 6 months male child has died while a female child aged 10 years has suffered severe burns when the house they were sleeping in caught fire in the early hours of today the 1st January, 2019 at about 03:20 hours in Lusaka’s Chaisa Compound. The deceased child is Danniel Kaputula while the one hospitalised is Alice Kaputala. Brief facts are that the Father of the two children known as Royd Kaputula, a security guard left home for work on 31st December, 2018 at 16:00 hours leaving the two children in the care of their mother Babra Phiri aged 33 of Chaisa Compound. Preliminary investigations have indicated that Babra Phiri, the mother of the children has a tendency of locking the children to go out to drink beer whenever the husband was in night shift,” Katongo stated.

“Today around 03:20 hours, one of the neighbours was alerted by distress calls from people who were shouting fire and when he went out, he found people trying to put off the fire. The members of the public managed to put off the fire but discovered that Alice was severely burnt while Danniel was burnt to death on a chair.”

Katongo stated that a burning candle could have caused the fire.

“Their mother was not in the house.They later informed the police, the scene was visited in which it was observed that the deceased died whilst seated on the chair and it is suspected that he might have slept on the chair and was chocked in deep sleep. The house is not connected to power and it is suspected that the mother could have left the candle burning when she went out. The Suspect has been apprehended and detained while the body of the deceased has been deposited at UTH mortaury,” stated Katongo.