Dec 31, 2019 News
By Shikema Dey
It was a chaotic scene yesterday afternoon at Princes Street, Wortmanville, as a fire of unknown origin destroyed a two-storey wooden and concrete rented building; leaving one tenant dead, several homeless and a homeowner assaulted.
Dead is 47-year-old Michael Northe, a driver attached to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs.
Northe collapsed at the sight of his home for more than four years being ravaged by flames. He later succumbed.
When Kaieteur News arrived on the scene, firefighters were attempting to extinguish the blaze in the upper flat of the house.
The fire reportedly started around noon.
According to information received, about seven persons occupied the top flat of the building, while the home owner and another person resided in the lower flat.
One tenant, Kerron Campbell explained that he had just returned from Linden, when he was met with his Lot 48 Princes Street home on fire. Campbell, who lives with his son and reputed wife, Latoya Regis, relayed that his losses totaled over $3 million.
“I was out and just reach back and come and see the place on fire. The most I coulda do is throw two bucket water, but that ain’t help nothing. The house had everything, we shop for Christmas, TV, fridge, bed, chair set, everything,
all we documents… everything; nothing ain’t save.”
Campbell disclosed that they only moved into the premises a mere two months ago. According to him, they were informed that the fire started in the back apartment in the upper flat. This section was said to belong to a female tenant who was not around at the time.Another distraught tenant, 32-year-old Shauncey McDonald stated that she too was out and received a call that the house was on fire. Upon arriving, she said, the upper flat was already destroyed.
“I was living there for just a month. I just left the house and somebody call and seh the place on fire but I didn’t believe; I thought it was just a prank…is till when I come and see the place done burn.”The mother of four explained that all of her important documents were destroyed in the fire.
According to her, while losing the household materials was disheartening, the documents were of more importance.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s brother, Kelvin could not estimate his losses. The man stated that all he was left with were the clothes on his back. He had moved from the West Bank of Demerara to facilitate his job.
“Me ain’t get nothing left… nothing! Everything burn up. I can’t even say how much I lost, I just get a call and is this I meet.”
The fire scene got chaotic after another tenant, Michael Northe, arrived on the scene and within seconds, collapsed.
Concerned neighbours frantically tried to keep the man conscious until paramedics arrived on the scene, and exchanged words with police officers on the scene, who asked them to leave the man alone.But they were determined to save his life. However, their efforts were unfortunately in vain as the man later died. Neighbours explained that the man lived in the building for more than four years. He was described as a quiet individual.Minutes later, the landlord, Dexter Copeland received a beating from another tenant after refusing him entry into the home.
Neighbours were forced to break up the scuffle that left Copeland sporting a bloodied nose and other lacerations.
It was said that the tenants and the landlord did not have favourable relations. Kaieteur News understands that the landlord and another tenant have an ongoing court matter.
“The landlord and everybody got an issue, he don’t get along with nobody, is always an issue. He is a trouble maker but we try to make do with it. One girl got her man and the boy used to park he car on the parapet, and like the landlord cause some trouble about it, and now they got to go court for it.”
Meanwhile, Divisional Commander of the Guyana Fire Service, Gregory Wickham told reporters at the scene that three water tenders responded to the call and were able to control the fire.
Investigations are ongoing.
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