‘Exceptional’ Sixth Form Student Succumbs to Burns


After Fire Guts Her Family’s San Fernando Home

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO — A young girl who suffered severe burns in a fire which destroyed her family’s home and business last week has died.

The Trinidad Express newspaper reported that Ya Yu Zhu , also known as Ami, was being treated in the intensive care unit at the San Fernando General Hospital. She succumbed to her injuries on Monday morning.

Ya Yu, 20, was a Sixth Form student at the San Fernando Central Secondary School (ModSec).

She lived with her parents at Sutton Street, San Fernando.

Her father, Pong Long Zhu, owned Little Busy Corner Chinese Restaurant, downstairs their home.

According to the Trinidad Express, police said the fire broke out in Ya Yu’s bedroom while she was asleep at around 3 a.m.

Zhu, 45, told police he saw smoke coming from the bedroom and alerted his family members. But Ya Yu, an only child, was trapped inside the bedroom.

Police said Ya Yu suffered third degree burns to her arms and legs.

The Express said it was told that Ya Yu was moved to the high dependency unit but returned to the ICU after she was diagnosed with pneumonia.

A family friend said Ya Yu and her family migrated to Trinidad about 10 years ago.

She was reported by the Express as saying, “Ami was an excellent student. She loved school and performed exceptionally well. She got eights ones in her exams and topped the school. I give lessons and always use her to motivate my students. She took my class for five years. Ami goes to school, works in the restaurant, goes lessons and outperformed her class.”

The family friend said Ya Yu was dedicated, responsible and focused.

Ya Yu’s teachers and friends posted condolences on Facebook, describing her as an excellent pupil and friend, according to the Express.

MODSEC Photography Club posted, “This is to commemorate a young lady who was a joy to know at San Fernando Central Secondary School (Modsec) who recently passed away. She touched many lives, both students and teachers. Even though we miss her dearly, she remains in our hearts. We pray that her family be strengthened at this difficult time.”

The Express said it was told that Ya Yu’s mother, Mary, was devastated and unable to come to terms with her daughter’s death.