A fire started by children playing with matches levelled the home of a family of 11 at Good Intent, West Bank Demerara yesterday.
Ramwattie Nagessar, 35, managed to get her children out of the house while neighbours attempted to put out the flames, which ravaged the two-storey structure at Lot 1 Murphy Street, Good Intent.
Fire Chief Marlon Gentle said that the fire, which started around 7:30 am, was caused by children playing with matches in the upper flat of the two-storey house. It was the second fire for the household in six months. The previous fire was also caused by children playing.
Nagessar had just finished washing clothes in the yard when she heard a neighbour shout that her house was on fire.
“I was going to prepare them children for school when a boy from over the road that was washing a bus scream out and said, ‘Look! Fire on the house!’ And I scream and run up stairs because my oldest son was still sleeping,” she related.
The woman said she tried waking the boy but he wasn’t getting up even though the fire was raging in the middle of the room.
“I calling for him and he not waking up so I had to pull him down and rush the other children out of the house,” she said. At that point neighbours were already throwing buckets of water onto the house. “But we didn’t get to save anything. Right now I don’t have any place to go…all I have is my children. I ga thank god for we life.” Nagessar and her husband Inshad Alli, 38, shared the home with their nine children. “I lived here for nineteen years,” she said before fainting. Villagers and family members rushed to revive her and fetched her into a nearby house.
According to villagers, she had fainted four times since they had managed to put out the fire.
A villager, Vijay [the only name given] said that he was in the outhouse when he saw fire blazing from a room in the top flat of the house. “So I run over and we all try to throw water on the fire and then I see her [Nagessar] at the door and she faint and we had to go pick her up,” he recounted.
Vijay said calls were made to the Wales Estate, which has a fire tender, but there was no response. “I ride speed speed and go to them at the estate to send the fire truck but they tell me that it ain’t working. What the use they get a fire station and a truck and it ain’t working.
We need a proper fire station here cause look how much danger cause here today,” he stated. “Is bucket out this fire not the fire people. We did it,” he said, adding that villagers were climbing up on house tops and throwing buckets of water to douse the flames.
Alli said that he was working at the wharf when another fisherman alerted him that his house was on fire. “I rush back home and I see neighbour helping to out it…what ain’t saved damaged,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gentle stated that Wales had no fire station. “It’s the estate that have a small fire tender to respond within the estate,” he explained, while noting that the Wales Estate would volunteer its service to neighbouring villages.
He added that West Ruimveldt Fire Station had received a call about the fire around 7:45 but was unable to reach there in time because of congestion at the Demerara Harbour Bridge. “We responded but we were held up there.”