While hundreds celebrated yesterday’s Masramani float and costume parade, tragedy struck in Plaisance for at least 35 persons. A fire destroyed three buildings, including a hotel at Lot 41 Victoria Road, Plaisance, East Coast Demerara.
The fire started around 13:00 hrs in the lower flat of the hotel, which was converted to dwelling spaces. It quickly spread to a house aback the hotel and another two-storey house on the southern side.
Curtis Smith, a tenant who resided at the lower flat of the hotel, known as Abiola, was enjoying the Mashramani festivities when he received the devastating news via a phone call.
“When I got here, the place was already burnt,” he said.
Smith said he lived in the hotel for more than five years and lost everything. He told Kaieteur News he had applied to the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) for a turnkey home.
According to Smith, he lost money that he was saving to pay for the house and all related documents.
Kathleen Cummings, the owner of the building, said she was home, which is on the northern side of the hotel, when she noticed smoke pouring from the building. She told Kaieteur News that her son was sleeping in the upper flat of the hotel. With the aid of a ladder, he was removed from the burning building through a window.
Ann Foster, who also lived in the lower flat of the hotel, said that the fire engulfed the entire building within minutes.
She said she smelt the smoke and went outside to inquire.
“I asked if anyone was cooking and they said no, so I went back inside and then I saw the fire,” she said. Foster said she lost everything in the fire and had to be given a dress to wear since she was preparing to sleep when she had to run out of the building.
Region Four officials told Kaieteur News on the scene that some 32 persons were affected by the fire.
According to Earl Lambert, Deputy REO, who was on the scene with a team of persons from the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), plans are being made to temporarily house the displaced persons at a nearby church and community centre.
Lambert said the team will be spearheading efforts to provide shelter, clothing and food for the displaced persons.
The origin of the fire is being investigated.
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