Mar 22, 2013 News
By Zena Henry
Quick action by the Guyana Fire Service yesterday prevented several houses in the Albouystown area from going up in flames after a suspected electrical fire engulfed a two-storey house at Lot 145 James and Victoria Streets.
At least 11 family members, including one paralyzed man and six children, are now homeless. Residents related that at around 09:30 hours, an alarm was raised when smoke was seen emanating from the wooden upper flat of the building. They said that immediately after power had been restored following a ‘blackout’, the mishap occurred.
Lisa Ashby, 24, said that she had just finished tidying her bedroom when she decided to tend to her paralyzed father who lived in the house’s concrete lower flat. Still in tears, Ashby said she had turned on the light in her father’s room when the electricity returned and seconds later, “I hear people shouting; ‘fire, fire’. So I run to the side step and see smoke coming from a room.” Ashby said she then ran back downstairs and aided her bedridden father out of the building.
Vaughnray Ashby, 42, said that for the last 20 years, he has been paralyzed from the neck down. The tearful man, clad only in a bath towel said that it was the only of his possessions that was saved. While in a car, safely out of harm’s way, he related that he was rescued from the house by his daughter, who lifted him to safety.
His sister, Carlene Ashby, said she was in the yard washing some clothes when the fire started. She recollected seeing smoke coming from the upper flat. Additional investigations, she said, showed that the smoke was coming from her niece’s room. “I ran upstairs to check on my niece and when I look I see smoke coming from her room.”
Meanwhile, Eon Ashby said he lives in the upper flat with his partner and their
children. He said that he left home around 07:30 hours to take his children to school and then proceed to work. Ashby recounted that some time after 09:00hours, he received a call notifying him that his home was on fire. The man said he immediately stopped what he was doing and headed to the scene.
He said that when he arrived, he immediately grabbed a bucket and joined the firemen in dousing the fire. By that time, the upper flat of the house had already been completely destroyed, but the fire was “under control”. The lower flat suffered extensive damage and what was not destroyed by flames was damaged by water which was seen streaming out of the structure.
Residents said the fire service arrived about 20 minutes after the fire started. Within 20 minutes of their arrival, the blaze was under control. Fire fighters initially battled the blaze alone as residents reasoned among themselves how dangerous it would be to even go close to the building as sporadic small explosions were heard. An electrical wire also caused panic and sent onlookers running to safety when it became severed. As the fire died down, residents started to make themselves available in rendering assistance.
Fortunately, the fire was contained to only the burning building. Adjacent structures
were under threat, but focus had to be placed on saving a house on the opposite side of the street as the breeze sent the flames in that direction. Fear grew when the PVC guttering started to melt and the heat started to peel the paintwork.
Residents expressed shock at how quickly the house was destroyed. The Ashby family said nothing was saved except for the clothes on their backs.
“Everything gone, television, laptop, fridge, every, everything done,” Carlene Ashby cried. While commenting on the mishap the woman fainted several times, and when conscious, she could not control her emotions.
“Is not me, I have somewhere I can take my children. Is my brothers and dem children I concern about,” she said, wailing even louder.
Eon Ashby vowed that he would not let the disaster discourage him.
“As soon as dis done… Once I can clear this out, if is tomorrow self, I gun see what I can do to bounce back.”
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