Over the past few days, the gate of Maurice’s Corner Store below the apartment where a two-alarm fire took the lives of Mohamed Shaibi and his 13-year old daughter, Amal, has become a shrine covered in flowers and notes from neighbors and members of the community.
On Wednesday night, two days after her father succumbed to his wounds, Amal Shaibi’s death followed. The community is still trying to absorb it all and to reach out to the mother and two surviving children who were also injured in the fire. A banner at the doorway reads, in part, “We, the neighbors of 24th Street, offer our deepest love and condolences …. We will support in any way we can.”
Nicarai Caleb Shaibi and her two children were discharged from Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and are recuperating with relatives in San Francisco, according to neighbors and family.
Although parents at the Buena Vista Horace Mann School, where two Shaibi children were students, created a GoFundMe campaign and a donation box has been set up at Mission Praxis, Mohamed Shaibi’s twin brother Muthana Shaibi says that the family has an extensive support network and is not looking for monetary assistance.
Instead, neighbors who have been in touch with the Shaibi family said they need a place to live. They are looking for a two-bedroom apartment in the Mission. Staying in the community and remaining at the same schools, they said, would avoid further disruption. Both children attend school and after school programs in the neighborhood.
Ben Amyes, the emergency response manager with the San Francisco Human Services Agency, said that the Red Cross is currently assisting the family to see what services are available to them. Aymes has not yet examined their case, but said, “I’m available to talk to them. All the services are voluntary, so I am expecting a call.”
Mohamed Shaibi and his family came to the United States from Yemen in 1995. The Shaibi family’s immediate and extended relatives live in the city as well as in Fresno and Stockton.
The family of five eventually settled in the Mission, where they ran a corner store at 24th and Treat Avenue and lived upstairs. The Shaibi children were often seen through the neighborhood at after school programs at the Mission Educational Project, across the street from their old apartment.
One of their friends in the neighborhood posted a poem entitled Cheetah, handwritten by Amal Shaibi.
By day I am a 7th grader in JLMS
By day I am a football player
By day I am a big sister
By day I am in Ms. Babecock
By day I am a small sister
When the night time come I become a Cheetah
When the night time falls I become a superhero
When the nighttime come I become a singer
By night, I become a big sister
When I go to a store I become a bag of takis.
Neighbors also wonder why the city has not cleared up the charred debris piled up outside the corner store. Somehow, one said, the debris, already gone through by scavengers, seems disrespectful and upsetting to the family.
An operator with 311 said the building’s owner is responsible for cleaning it up. Public property records show the building owner as Maurice Pinto, although calls to the phone number listed haven’t been returned.
A neighbor said the building owner has not been around. It is a burden for the Shaibi family to pick up their burned belongings from the street when they have already lost two lives, the neighbor said.