Vendor, tenants bereft after fire destroys Better Hope home

“I punish to build this house,” 50-year-old Cecily Primo said as she tearfully reflected on her sacrifice to construct her Lot 191 Better Hope home.

Cecily Primo looks out from her veranda at her Better Hope home. A Thursday afternoon fire destroyed the bottom flat of the house and cause internal damage to the upper floor.

A fire on Thursday afternoon destroyed the lower flat and damaged the upper flat of her home and now has Primo and two of her tenants contemplating their next steps.

Primo resides in the upper flat of the building while the lower flat is occupied by three tenants. At about 12:45 hrs on Thursday, one of her tenants noticed smoke rising.

Jasodra Ramjeawan, 27, is one of the tenants who reside in the lower flat.  She said she was visiting Primo when she noticed smoke rising from the lower part of the house and decided to investigate. When she opened the door to an apartment occupied by Odessa Cummings and her four children, she saw the mattress ablaze.

At that time, the flames were limited to the mattress, she is of the opinion that the breeze helped to fan the flames.  She said suddenly the flames began to spread and quickly engulfed the apartment and spread to the others.  It also started to rise and started to burn the ceiling.

The picture shows the burnt out section of one of the apartments of Cecily Primofs house at Better Hope.

Primo alleged that Cummings is in the practice of leaving her children at home alone.

Lisa Heber, 19, is another of Primo’s tenants and she is wondering what she will do now, since she has nowhere to go. Heber is 8 months pregnant and lost all the baby clothes she had bought in the flames. While she has lost other household articles, her main concern is the clothing she has lost since she is expected to give birth in September. “I don’t have anything for my baby,” she said.

Ramjeawan, apart from having three children, is five months pregnant.  Her concern lies with the school clothes for her older children and the few newborn items she had bought.

When the fire damaged Primo’s apartment, it destroyed her chairs, several pieces of household equipment and some money which she had saved.

Primo said she completed construction of the house fours years ago.

She said that she has been living at the location for the past 30 years, in those days she had a zinc house and later built a wooden house.

She is a market vendor and said when people used to stop vending because of the rain; she stayed because she knew she had to get money. She said in the aftermath of the flames, “I cried, I propa cry to know how hard I work hard to get this house.”

For the time being Primo and Ramjeawan occupy the damaged upper flat of the building since they have no where else to go.  They have cleared a part so they can sleep at night.

However, because the floorboards are damaged, they have to be careful how they tread.

Officers at the Guyana Fire Service had indicated to Primo that they have to conduct an investigation into the origin of the fire and she was told to check with the department on Tuesday for a report on the matter.

In the meantime, Primo, Ramjeawan and Heber continue to contemplate their future and are appealing for any assistance that can be given to them as they seek to rebuild their lives.

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