Nov 02, 2008 News
– neighbours rescue children
Fire struck with devastating consequences yesterday claiming the life of an 85-year-old man at Golden Grove, East Coast Demerara.
The blaze of unknown origin, started at about 08:10 hours and by the time it was extinguished, the charred remains of Vivian Rodney, called ‘German’, lay among the rubble of a two-storey wooden and concrete building.
Three children who were in the house at the time the fire started were lucky to be rescued by alert neighbours who had earlier seen smoke emanating from a window of the Lot 12 Golden Grove Public Road house.
Several persons left their shopping in the Golden Grove market to watch the destruction which was too much the dead man’s elderly wife who had returned home just in time to see undertakers removing the remains of her husband.
Eon DeAbreu, a neighbour who lives oblique to the burnt out property, told Kaieteur News that when he looked out from his house thick smoke filled the air.
“I say, this is fire and I run across. When I go over the two children were on the verandah and one was in the house. I just pull the two outside, put them half way up the step and run back inside the house for the next one.
When I come back out with the next one, by the time I reach the gate, the whole house afire,” De Abreu related.
He said that he had heard Rodney making a desperate attempt to flee the burning house.
“He wasn’t saying anything, he just fumbling inside the house,” De Abreu added.
Relatives said that Rodney would usually have problems moving around the house because of his advanced age and that may have prevented him from saving himself.
Neighbours said that Rodney was left alone in the house with the children while his wife and other older occupants went out.
During the blaze there was some uncertainty about others persons being trapped in the house but this proved otherwise when the fire was put out.
A young man who gave his name as ‘Blackie’ recalled that he was approaching the house when he saw De Abreu and his wife trying to rescue the children.
“De man run through the smoke with the children dem. He say, ‘Y’all try fuh save dem children’. We now going up fuh bring out de big man, but by the time we reach at the top of the steps, the fire say ‘buff!’ and that was it,” the young man said.
Adrian Chanderpaul, a resident of the nearby village of Cove and John told this newspaper that he was driving past when he saw persons running from the yard.
He immediately stopped and went to render assistance.
“When I look up I seeing the fire, so I just stop at the corner and I run back fuh help them,” Chanderpaul said.
He said that he and another man tried to save the elderly man but the heat was too intense.
The fire further underscores the urgent need for a fire station on East Coast Demerara.
It was always the hope that the Guysuco Enmore and LBI fire tenders would at least contain fires along East Coast Demerara until the main fire service arrives. But that was not the case yesterday.
“I went to the GuySuCo in Enmore. They told me that the fire truck has been in the workshop for at least three months. I call 911, I call 912 and I can’t get through to them up to now, so I don’t know what kind of help they could provide in this situation,” Chanderpaul told Kaieteur News.
A fire tender from the city eventually arrived and although there was an adequate supply of water, it was too late.
The house once served as a dental laboratory, which fitted persons with artificial dentures.
Neighbours said that the blaze spread quickly because the building was recently repainted.
Bruce Rodney, the dead man’s son who lives at Vigilance a few miles away, told this newspaper that he was at home when a police friend called him and told him that his father’s house was on fire.
He said when he arrived the house was still on fire.
He stated that while going to the scene, he was aware that his father was trapped in the house, something he confirmed when he arrived.
“I know he’s always at home because he was ill,” Rodney said.
When the blaze was eventually contained, several curious onlookers rushed into the yard to get a glimpse of the remains of the popular resident. They had to be restrained by the police.
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