A family of Number 70 Village has been hit hard after their homes and business went up in flames on Wednesday night.
Ramesh Khemraj, 50, owner of one of the two buildings that went up in flames, told reporters that he was in neighbouring Suriname when he received the dreadful news that his home and bond were on fire.
“I received a text while I was in Suriname, saying that the house is on fire. I was so shocked, I couldn’t believe,” Khemraj said.
According to the businessman – an exporter – he had four containers containing bio-degradable food boxes on the premises, in a bond located at the back of his home.
“I had that and we furnished our whole house and we had everything brand new. I had this house for over 15 years, but I had a supermarket that ran for 12 years, and after my family migrated I closed that down and started to do exporting.”
“I think this is the end of my journey,” said Khemraj, as he tried to make sense of what took place. He suspects that the fire may have been electrical in origin, but could not confirm this. He lived alone and had only left the country for Suriname on Tuesday morning (the day before the fire).
The businessman stated that the building is not insured, and he estimated over $100M in losses which includes $4M in cash and $60M in containers.
Khemraj’s 82-year-old father who lives next door in the upper flat of the other building that was burnt, along with his sibling and wife, who operate a liquor store in the bottom flat, are also counting millions of dollars in losses.
Savitri Ramnarine, co-proprietor of the ‘Kingsvally Liquor Shop’, who runs the business with her husband, Ramesh Khemraj’s brother, told reporters that she was in the shop when one of her customers told her that they were smelling smoke.
“Yesterday afternoon around six o’clock, me went in the shop and dem bai seh something smelling like it burning, but I didn’t check it out. Is when my cousin who was here go upstairs fuh something then she see the fire and smoke on the next house and she start holla and meh husband run out and dem start bruck open the place, but how the place grill dem couldn’t get in, so dem call the fire service”, Ramnarine recounted.
The devastated woman expressed her disgust at the fire service, after they arrived nearly forty five minutes after the fire began and when they eventually arrived, it was without water.
“Lemme tell you, the fire people dem suppose to save this house but that building ah burn, which one yuh go hustle fuh save? That done burn halfway yuh na go hustle fuh save this one? Dem na even had water, every time people house burn dem nah get water. How yuh gon save a person house and yuh nah get water?”
She, Ramnarine and her husband have been operating their business for over 20 years.
Kaieteur News also learnt that only three weeks ago the siblings lost their mother and were still grieving.
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