Nov 03, 2008 News
“I was tired and fed up having to sleep at neighbours, but the police come and beg me not fuh go in de house”.
Police are on the hunt for a man who torched his house at Block 12 Non Pariel, East Coast Demerara, after reportedly failing in his attempt to kill his wife and five children.
The early morning blaze completely flattened the three-bedroom wooden house, which was once occupied by Hardeo Ramsaroop, his wife and five children, aged 14 to six years old.
The blaze, which started at about 03:30 hours yesterday, also caused damage to two nearby properties on either side of the burnt out building, and is the second fire in less than 24 hours on the East Coast of Demerara.
Neighbours told this newspaper that the man was seen entering the property sometime Saturday night, and was seen leaving shortly after the fire started.
The woman and her children had been sleeping at a neighbour for almost a week, since the man had reportedly threatened to kill them all and then hang himself.
Fortunately, Ramdei Mahdeo, called Debbie, 32, and her children were dissuaded from sleeping in the house on Saturday night, despite a burning desire to return to the comfort of the home they had occupied for the past 15 years.
In tears, Mahdeo told this newspaper that for several years her husband had been abusive, and on several occasions he had threatened to kill her, forcing her to flee the house several times.
On a number of occasions, the man was locked up by the police, but he would return to his threatening ways as soon as he was released.
According to the woman, last Monday, her husband, who was described as an alcoholic, became intoxicated. He armed himself with a cutlass, and again threatened to ‘wipe out his family.’
“He fire a chop and the chop catch the hammock. Me hustle and run out, and go by me neighbour fuh rescue,” Mahdeo told this newspaper.
That was the last time she and her children slept in the house.
“He always tell de children and dem neighbours that he gone kill me; and if he ain’t get to kill me, he gone burn down the house,” she added.
She said that she has been avoiding her husband since she moved out, claiming that she was fearful for her life.
The woman reported the matter to the police, and since then her husband has been on the run.
However, residents said that he would enter the house at nights, when all the neighbours were asleep.
She said that on Saturday night the police advised her not to sleep in the house, since the man had maintained his threats and was effectively eluding capture.
“I was tired and fed up having to sleep at neighbours, but the police come and beg me not fuh go in de house. They come and lock de glass door fuh me and dey go away,” Mahdeo said through sobs.
Early yesterday morning, she was awakened by her neighbour at whose house she was staying, who informed her that her house, which was located four doors away, was on fire.
She said that there was nothing she could do to save anything from the burning building.
All her appliances that she had worked hard to acquire, including a refrigerator which is not yet fully paid for, were destroyed, as well as all the family’s clothes, she said.
Neighbours described Ramsaroop as an alcoholic who would normally steal things from the yards of other villagers.
Rahamat Ali, a southern neighbour, told this newspaper that he awoke briefly at about 04:00 hours, but went back to sleep only to be reawakened by the cracking sound of wood on fire.
“Me wife shout out, ‘Oh gosh, a’we neighbour house pon fire!’ I run downstairs and try get out my car,” Ali told this newspaper.
He said that he saw no one leaving the property at the time, but indicated that the fire was initially concentrated in the centre of the building.
According to Ali, a fire tender from Georgetown arrived on the scene about 30 minutes after the fire was started, but had to secure water from a trench some 200 feet away, since the several hydrants in the area are inoperable.
“The fire tenders, when they came, the first thing they said was that they ain’t got water. The Government spent millions of dollars fuh do hydrants and you can’t even get water fuh cook in this place. Thirteen year me live hey, and if you ain’t got water pump, you dead,” Ali lamented.
He said that the neighbours were forced to use all the water he had stored in water tanks to save the burning house.
Unfortunately, three of the tanks were severely damaged by the heat from the fire.
And once again there was a strong call for a fire station to be established along the East Coast of Demerara.
On almost every occasion there is a fire on the East Coast, the response time of the fire service, including the fire tenders from Guysuco Enmore and LBI Estates, has been called into question.
Residents are now resigned to the fact that their homes cannot be saved by the fire service; since, apart from the questionable response time, the sometimes logistical problems connected with the access of adequate water compound the issue.
Meanwhile, Hardie Mahdeo is appealing for assistance for herself and five children, comprising four girls and a boy, who now have nowhere to go and no clothes to put on their backs.
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