An early morning fire yesterday blazed through several homes at the corner of Lombard and Broad Streets, Georgetown. It left many homeless and nowh
ere to turn to.
The compound is home to well over 200 persons. Initial reports indicate that the fire started between 7am and 8am in one of the buildings and quickly spread to four other homes burning them to the ground. About seven other homes were badly scorched.
The nature of the buildings aided the rapid spread of the fire. Many were built with clapboard and discarded material.
When the blaze was contained, there were the distressed residents. Many persons were left aimlessly walking around digging for anything that could be salvaged.
Some were trying to keep their children out of the debris. Affected persons especially the women were crying and had to be consoled by others.
The place was water soaked from the after work by the fire fighters who were promptly on the scene. Smoke was still emitting from a few pieces of wood and the smell of burnt articles filled the atmosphere.
According to one of the residents, Abiola Khalin, she was not at home at the time of the fire. However, she came home to ashes.
“I was at work when the fire took place and I got a call saying the place on fire. When I reach home, everything ‘bun’ down.”
A visibly shaken Oniecia Bramble who sat flat on the ground with tears in her eyes stated, “My house burned to the ground everything lost.”
She said that she has her two sons and luckily her mother lives aback of the place where her home stood so she will be staying there for now.
Sanander Alexander, an individual whose house and a little shop was burnt to the ground, said that he has nowhere to turn to and would have lost everything in the fire.
“I lost everything; I can’t even put a figure to it. My girl get burn on she hand and on her leg. She was asleep in the house. She barely ran out,” Alexander stated.
Two other victims of the fire stated that they were in their home asleep when they were woken by the heat of the flames. “The heat wake us up and when we jump up, we see the flames coming over. We didn’t know what else to do but run out the house.”
“We have nowhere to go; we don’t even have anything left. The clothes that we wearing right now people had to give us it.”
According to Fire Chief Marlon Gentle, “Based on our investigation the fire was started by a man who is of unsound mind. He was handed over to the police as investigations continue.”
Mr. Gentle went on to say that the suspect was threatening to commit the act since the day before.
“This man would have shown threatening behaviour since Friday. Eyewitness told us that he would have used kerosene to start the fire.”
The suspect’s name was given as Ian McCalman. A close relative said that he is 30 years old and currently unemployed.
The relative also confirmed that McCalman is mentally disturbed and was twice admitted as a patient of the Berbice Psychiatric Hospital.
“Since he came out he does just be walking up and down the road. Monday we were going to take him back to the hospital because about three days ago he stop taking his medication.” The relative stated.
The residents said that the government for some time has promised to give them house lots in other locations. However, this may prove fortunate for some families as the government is looking to only provide for 20 families.
“They promised that they would come back this month and hand out lands for people but, they say they only giving 20 families.”
In 2011, a fire occurred at the said area leaving almost 30 persons homeless. That fire began in the bottom flat of one of the houses and proceeded to destroy the entire building which facilitated numerous apartments. The fire then spread to neighbouring apartments and shacks in a short period of time.
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