La Parfaite fatal fire…Candle in plastic container caused blaze – Fire Chief
A burning candle in a plastic receptacle caused Wednesday night’s fire which
claimed the lives of two small children at La Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara.
Chief Fire Officer Marlon Gentle made this disclosure yesterday, while revealing that the candle was placed on a bookshelf in the children’s bedroom.
“The candle was resting in a plastic receptacle and the flames caught the books,” he said.
According to the Fire Chief, investigators were told that one of the children lit the candle because the bulbs in the room had not been working for about two weeks.
Reports indicate that one of the children had put out the candle, but another child lit it again. Gentle lamented the fact that no adult was at home at the time to supervise them.
“We forever preach ‘don’t leave children at home’.”
Ten-year-old Andrea James and her six-year-old cousin, Alonzo Douglas, perished in the fire which consumed the property located at Lot 689 Middle Dam, La Parfait Harmonie.
Delon Douglas, eight, Brian Douglas, 10, and six-year-old Andre Douglas escaped by smashing windows and jumping from the burning building. They sustained minor burns, bruises and scratches.
According to initial reports, the five children were home alone when the fire started in the upper flat of the three-bedroom structure on Wednesday night.
Kaieteur News understands two of the children were in a bedroom when the fire started while another was in the bathroom. One of the children said the flames spread quickly, leaving them with no time to open the doors to the side stairs leading to the yard.
“I break the windows and tell them to jump through,” said a still-shaken Delon Douglas recounted. However, only the three boys managed to jump to safety.
Andrea James panicked after the flames kept her away from the broken window and she retreated to the rooms.
“She was on the verandah and at the time only a lady was in the yard when the fire started and the lady keep telling she jump and she just run back inside the house and she never come back out,” a neighbour said.
Six-year-old Alonzo Douglas, who was set to celebrate his birthday next month, was also trapped in the blaze.
One fire tender was on the scene but there was not much that could be done.
Fire Chief Gentle said that the fire service received their first call at 20:22 hrs. He said that firefighters from the West Ruimveldt Fire Station were “the closest” and were the first to respond.
“They got there within 18 minutes, but by then it was all over,” Gentle said.
When Kaieteur News visited the area yesterday, Roxanne Douglas, the home owner, was still in shock as she tried to grapple with the deaths of her nephew and niece and the loss of her property.
Ms. Douglas and her three nephews were forced to spend the night at a friend. She disclosed that the Guyana Relief Council is offering her shelter, and added that she has received tremendous support from family members and persons in her community.
This publication was also told that A Partnership for National Unity representatives visited the family and offered assistance.
Douglas said that she has been caring for her niece for the past ten years, after her mother died and left the girl and her brother. She said that the nephew who perished had been living with her for the past two years.
There have been six other major fires within the past 11 days.
They include the April 1 blaze which razed a Regent Street building housing several businesses; a second at Berbice, two on the East Coast of Demerara; another at Agricola caused by a child playing with matches; yet another which destroyed stalls at the Stabroek Bazaar, and the sixth which razed a home at Latchmansingh Street, Tucville.