In a second attempt, hours after she was released from police custody, a woman reportedly managed to set her Victoria Road, Plaisance house ablaze last night before fleeing to the backlands area.
The woman, residents told this newspaper last night, was seen swiftly leaving the Lot 76 Victoria Road house shortly after flames were seen coming from the upper flat. When questioned about where she was going the woman only said that she was going to kill herself. Up to press time the woman was yet to be found by police.
The woman shared the two-storey wooden and concrete house with her son. Her niece, her grandmother and her child lived in the lower flat.
When Stabroek News arrived at the scene just after 9.30pm residents were trying to revive the still shocked son at the street corner. The man was subsequently rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital.
A short distance away, even as firemen continued to soak the remains of the ravaged building, other persons comforted the niece. The woman told this newspaper that she was sitting on the bridge in front the house when her 71-year-old grandmother came shouting to her that the house was on fire.
On Sunday, the niece related, her aunt had tried to set the house on fire. The woman, she alleged, lit a curtain but they were able to put the fire out. During the last three weeks, the niece alleged, her aunt had started a dispute about the property.
The alleged arsonist didn’t want anyone else living in the house and had threatened to burn the house repeatedly. Two days after the woman’s first reported attempt at setting the house on fire police took her into custody. However, she was subsequently released by police some time yesterday afternoon.
“I blame the police for this,” the niece stated, “because they release her from custody and told us that they didn’t have any evidence to hold her.”
All her possessions, the niece said, were destroyed in the fire. However, she was unable to give an estimated value of her loss.
The niece also told this newspaper that the fire service took more than 20 minutes to respond to her call for help. She believes that they would’ve been able to save more of the house had they arrived earlier.
“The first time I call the fire service the woman that answered was very rude to me,” the niece said, “and I had to hang up and call her again before she would take my report.”
Other residents said that the alleged arsonist “wasn’t too righted mentally”. A neighbour told this newspaper that most mornings at 2.45 am the woman would get up “and perform”.
“She would start shouting and saying all kinda things and so,” the neighbour said.
Residents who live in the house located behind the ravaged Lot 76 home were still shaken when this newspaper spoke with them.
“At one point,” a man, who didn’t give his name, said, “I thought the fire woulda spread over here and burn down my house to…girl, I faint all kinda thing.”
He believes that a quick response by neighbours may have prevented the flames from damaging his house as well. Neighbours, he said, formed a bucket brigade and soaked his house with water and slushy mud as best as they could before the arrival of the fire tender.
The fire service, reports said, started some time between 8.10 and 8.30pm. Almost two hours after firemen were still present at the scene soaking the still smoking remains of the house.