Benschop's son, child's mom die in NY fire
December 10, 2002
Mark Benschop's seven-year-old son and the mother of the child were killed early Sunday morning when fire swept through their two-storey home in Queens, New York.
New York authorities are currently engaged in an investigation to determine the cause of the fire which killed 35-year-old Deomattie Subrian and her son Rajiv Benschop, whose bodies were discovered in the front bedroom on the second floor of the house at 101-24 112th Street, Richmond Hill.
According to a report in yesterday's New York Times, a Fire Department spokesman said the two-alarm blaze broke out at 2:21 am on the first floor of the house, which neighbours said was shared by two families.
As the fire spread, the flames leaped across a driveway, knocked down overhead electrical lines, and ignited the house next door, at 101-22 112th Street, rousing people from bed as more than 100 firefighters responded, the report stated.
A New York Post report said that it took 106 firemen two hours to put out the flames.
When they arrived, both houses were on fire, Fire-fighter James P. Maguire, a Fire Department Spokesman told the Times. It took more than an hour and a half to bring the fire under control, he said.
Firemen at the scene said yesterday that burned overhead electrical wires had fallen into the fire, causing dangerous sparks to fly in all directions and making it difficult to battle the flames.
And while a police official is quoted as saying that an electrical problem might have been a factor in the start of the fire, Maguire said the Fire Department had yet to determine the cause. He indicated that, "It could take up to a couple of days..."
Following the discovery of their bodies, Subrian and her son were taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead on arrival, hospital spokeswoman, Ruth L. Richman, said.
According to a woman who said she was the owner of the house, both mother and son moved in about four months ago, after a relative of theirs, who had lived there for nine years, moved out.
Subrian, who is said to have been a teacher while in Guyana, migrated to the United States about 10 years ago, her sister-in-law told the Post. Subrian was working as a pharmacist at a Rite Aid drugstore.
A solemn Benschop appeared at the Georgetown Magistrate's Court yesterday for the continuation of the Preliminary Inquiry into the charges of treason against him and wanted man Phillip Bynoe. Before the session began he was being consoled by his wife Maria.