May 05, 2015 News
Tragedy struck the Hamid family in Berbice yesterday, when businessman Ayube Hamid, 59, perished
in a fire. The father of two of Lot 35 First Street, Canefield Village, East Canje, Berbice, was the owner of the billion-dollar Home Line Furniture establishments in Berbice.
The blaze completely destroyed his home, furniture factory, and a storage bond located in the yard.
The man who occupied the house with his wife, Jameela, exited the two-storey building but for reasons still unknown, he rushed back into the building.
The man who has a number of other multi-million-dollar businesses in Berbice, sells furniture and all electrical appliances at various locations, including the Home Line Complex in Rose Hall Town, the Home Line Furniture Stores at New Amsterdam and Reliance, East Canje among other locations.
The fire also completely destroyed the nearby residence of Hamid’s eastern neighbour, John Bahadur, an electrical repair and serviceman who resided in the two-storey wood and concrete house with his wife Debbie, four sons, a daughter-in-law and grandson.
The fire erupted around 07:15 hrs on the lower flat of the two-storey wood and concrete building which housed the living quarters of the complex. A shed which is also used as the main area of the factory separated the house from the two story concrete bond which extends from First to Second Street.
Up to press time the origin of the fire was unknown. According to two of his employees, they had arrived for work around 07:00 hrs and were in the process of taking furniture outside. The two youthful employees stated that usually on Monday not many employees would turn out to work. Only three of them were there and they had already taken about three wardrobes outside.
About the said time, a resident came to beg for some varnish. When they went into the building to get the varnish they saw fire in a pail used to mix paint under the shed.
They informed their boss who told them to get sand and threw on the paint, which they did. However it did not out the fire. They went for more sand but by then the fire had spread. As it got out of the pail and spread to the many combustible materials around.
According to a resident, someone had apparently lit a fire to burn some materials and the fire got out of control and quickly spread to the paint and other combustible material. According to lawmen, all angles are being looked at to determine the cause of the fire.
The place stored a large number of combustible materials which helped the fire to rage quickly and get out of hand, including paints, thinners, tar, gasoline and sponge among other materials.
During the time of fighting the fire, loud explosions could be heard coming from the buildings as some of the materials exploded.
The businessman’s burnt body was located around 11:05 hours among the rubble by ranks and villagers.
The Guyana Fire service responded with three tenders, while the nearby Rose Hall Estate responded with a Land Rover. During the time, dozens of residents from near and far flocked the scene to get a glimpse of what was going on.
The main source of contention of the residents was the time it took the Guyana Fire Service to arrive on the scene.
According to Bahadur he lived at his Lot 36 East Canefield location for the past 13 years, his home is his repair shop and he repairs all kinds of electrical equipment. He stated that he had just exited his yard and was in the process of taking his kids to school when he saw Hamid.
Hamid, he said, told him to call the Fire Service because there was a fire.
He added that an alarm was raised and neighbours started running towards the building. He and others called the Fire Service informing them of the fire. Meanwhile Hamid had run back into the building for something. His wife had already exited the building.
They started a bucket brigade which was no match for the fire which spread rapidly.
The man, fighting back tears, said that he lost everything in the fire including equipment and appliances belonging to persons who had taken them there to be repaired. His house was well furnished. He could not estimate his losses.
Jameela Hamid was too distraught to speak. She was sitting under the house of a neighbour, being attended to by Dr. Ganesh.
She stated loudly that she was not interested in speaking to anyone; her only wish was to know where her husband was.
The house belonging to Bibi Isha Shamshudeen a vendor at the New Amsterdam market was badly burnt. Seven persons occupied that residence.
Up to press time lawmen and fire fighters were still at the scene trying to quell the fire.
The lawmen were also trying to locate the man’s firearm. The magazine for a .32 revolver was found.
Members of the Regional Administration including Chairman David Armagon, Vice Chairman Bhoopaul Jagroop and former Member of Parliament, Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo were on the scene.
An angry resident stated that instead of building a Marriot Hotel and wasting billions of dollars on a number of failed projects, they should have invested money on proper equipment.
Hamid who is the nephew of A. Ally of the A. Ally and Sons Business establishment and the brother of the proprietor of the Imran and Sons and Daughter Business establishment in Rose Hall Town, leaves to mourn his wife, two daughters and numerous other relatives.
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