A young businessman is clinging onto life after setting himself alight in an early morning blaze which destroyed his Lot 41 Virginia, Cane Grove, East Coast Demerara business and house, yesterday.
Nazim Khan, a former policeman and a former foreman at the Enmore Estate, sustained third degree burns all over his body and collapsed in his yard after plunging head-first through a window.
The man’s reputed wife, Chandrowtie Baichan, called Reema, managed to flee the house with her baby, shortly before it was set alight at around 01:45 hours.
Police believe that the incident stemmed from a domestic dispute between Khan and his reputed wife.
Investigators said that Khan left his home at around 19:00 hours and attended a wedding in the village.
Upon returning home, he and Baichan developed a heated argument during which the woman’s screams were heard by the police in the station opposite Khan’s house.
According to the police, the woman managed to flee the house with her daughter by jumping through a window and went to the station where she sought refuge.
Meanwhile, Khan, who was apparently under the influence of alcohol, doused himself with kerosene and lighted a fire.
A neighbour who was awake at the time of the incident told this newspaper that she first heard noise coming from Khan’s house, which she felt was very strange at the time.
The neighbour said that she went to her verandah from where she tried to observe what was taking place.
She later heard Khan’s wife pleading with her to call the police, since she was being held in the house against her will.
“The next time I saw her she was coming down the steps with the baby and run to the police station,” the neighbour said.
According to the woman, Khan was later seen in his mini bus which was parked just in front of the yard revving the engine excessively.
He subsequently emerged from the bus with a container filled with kerosene.
“When he going up the step, I tell me son to call the police and let them ask Reema what Nazim has inside the jar, if is kero or gasoline because he gone up in the house,” the neighbour said.
When Khan’s wife was contacted she revealed that it was indeed kerosene but by then he had already secured himself in the house and all those around could do was wait.
“By the time my son go over to see if he could get him (Khan) to come out, the whole place was already on fire,” the neighbour added.
Soon after, a ball of fire came crashing through a window. It was khan.
“He didn’t jump. I don’t know what push him out but he just push with the ball of fire on him and he landed on the ground. He was shouting for me, ‘Aunti Doris, Auntie Doris, help’. But what we could’a do?” the neighbour told this newspaper.
Still engulfed in flames with the burning building behind him, Khan crawled to his neighbour’s fence and collapsed.
He was picked up by residents and hauled from the yard where the fire was raging and subsequently taken to the hospital where he was immediately admitted.
His condition is listed as critical.
Relatives of the injured businessman, who reside at Unity, Mahaica, told this newspaper that they heard about the incident but by the time they arrived at Cane Grove everything was finished.
“Not even a bucket brigade could help,” a resident said.
A fire tender arrived from the city but only in time to douse the embers of the fire.
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