EZEKIEL BURKE, 17, died a hero while trying to save his two younger siblings, Faith, six, and Kayden, three, from the hell that consumed their Maraval home and their lives last Monday, a said the children’s aunt Letttiia Rodriguez at their joint funeral on Friday.
The service was held at Church on the Rock, Morvant, and was streamed online.
The nation was shocked by the deaths of the children, whose dying screams were captured in video footage showing relentless flames blazing from the ground to the roof of their home in Rookery Nook.
Their two sisters escaped.
Reports indicated that Ezekiel had walked to the front of the building to cry out for help for his trapped siblings. A church official, Brother Cuthbert Tracey, said Ezekiel should get a national award, saying “In trying to save his siblings he lost his life.”
Inside the church, which was nearly empty due to covid19 precautions, three white coffins covered with flowers lay side by side – a medium, a large, and finally a small.
âEzekiel, you are a hero. You are my hero,â Rodriguez said in his tribute. “I could say again, you did exactly what I told you, taking care of your sisters and brothers. You are my hero.”
She remembered the love the youngest child exuded and received from members of the community.
âI just wanted to talk about Kayden, how he’s such a loving kid. He always had everyone running after him – security – always happy, always happy. He always had these salespeople, these double people, running around and s. ‘looked after him. He was such a peaceful child and he will be missed. “
Rodriguez said Kayden loved his older sister Faith deeply.
“They’ve always been together. They sleep together. They do everything together.”
The children’s teachers also paid tribute to them.
Joleen Johnson, owner of Great Minds Academy, said Faith loved the school and the interactions it brings. She worked hard on her projects and excelled in gymnastics and beat boys in soccer. She was the big sister in her class.
“Faith had a personality as bright as the rays of the morning sun. You know the saying, when you smile, the whole world smiles with you? It was Faith. When she smiled, you had no choice but to smile too. “
Staff at Blanchisseuse High School recalled Ezekiel as a disciplined caddy and member of the school’s cricket team. Director Hashim Johnson said he was “a beautiful soul” who had grown from a shy boy to a strong young man. He was the student who had to travel the farthest to get to school, but even during the pandemic he had an excellent attendance record.
Cadet Force Major Colin Ojoe said Ezekiel worked for a promotion from Private to Lance Corporal.
âHe had great potential to become a sergeant.
In a video tribute, a teacher described Ezekiel as “a gentleman, a caring soul, the darling of a young man.” Teacher Tamara Johnson said Ezekiel was the key to her home by winning the parade on school sports day.
“He was so dedicated, always on time for meetings, practice. We will remember him for his kind nature. Respectable and gentle young man.”
She said she prayed that God would give the family the strength to endure the ordeal of losing Ezekiel plus Faith and Kayden.
In his sermon, Reverend Benjamin Agard said he was humbled by the family’s resilience, even though he was convinced that one day they would find their lost children.
He said homes should have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, practice fire drills and pay attention to burglary. The lack of an emergency exit through the burglar-proof protection would have prevented the children from escaping from the burning house.
Social Development Minister Donna Cox, a new certified religious minister with the Prophetic Church of Antioch in New York City, said the pain of losing three children was surely excruciating. She advised the family to cry as much as they needed and to rest their grief on the Lord, to whom the children had now returned.
Cox said the national outpouring of heartache, love and concern over the tragedy from all sectors has shown Trinidad and Tobago to always be a place of goodwill
“All true Trinbagonians felt this tragedy deep in our souls and cried out with the parents, in shock, disbelief and sorrow.”
She pledged that the Government, through its agencies, would provide support and comfort to the family.
The children’s parents, Troy Burke and Jenille Rodriguez, did not address the congregation.