Deaths of mom and child blamed on security door

When  Marnelly Ortiz Bermúdez realized her home was on fire Tuesday morning, the 35-year-old mother chased after and grabbed her 2 year old son,  Jorge Arturo, and raced for the front door.

She went through the wooded interior door but was unable to go further. Fire fighters found both bodies against the porton or barred iron exterior door of the home.

Insecurity has obliged the population to convert their homes into forts against criminals but also mortal traps for their inhabitants, said a spokesperson for the  Cuerpo de Bomberos de Costa Rica.

Fire investigators said they obtained their version of the deaths from the location of the bodies and also in interviews with the dead woman’s mother and grandmother of the woman, who survived.

The location was in  Tuetal Norte de Alajuela, and the fire broke out about 6 a.m. The cause is under study by the Judicial Investigating Organization, but faulty wiring is suspected.

The grandmother was in the home when the fire broke out. She and her granddaughter, Ms.  Ortiz, were in the rear of the home where the washing is done and where the kitchen was located, the fire agency reported. The child was in a bedroom. Both women were alerted to the blaze by the cries of a neighbor.

The mother saw the child headed to the front door and gave chase, fire investigators said the grandmother reported. And that was the last she saw of them because of the thick, black smoke, she reported.

Hector Chaves, director of the  Cuerpo de Bomberos, said Tuesday that every household should have an evacuation plan and practice it. He said that persons have reinforced their homes for security but that paradoxically they have converted the dwellings into traps.

Houses today, he said, have many bars, double locks and other devices that slow down an exit during an emergency.

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