Ten homeless after De Willem house, store gutted

A fire yesterday destroyed a two-storey building at De Willem, West Coast Deme-rara, which housed two families and an electronics store leaving millions in losses.
The blaze started at around 9:30 am and completely gutted the building at Lot 111 De Willem where Seenarine Sitaram and his family lived. No one was at home when the fire started. The occupants could not say what could have caused it. The fire started in the eastern back portion of the home.

The gutted home at De Willem.

Since no one was home, nothing was saved and apart from losses that ran into millions, Sitaram said that he lost $2.3M in cash as well. He, his wife and three children lived at the home for over 20 years. Another couple and their two children, relatives of the Sitarams, lived at the home as well.

Shaun Nabiyah-bi the owner of the SD Computers and Security Systems, rented a portion of the lower flat for his business for the past two years. He too did not save anything and told Stabroek News that his losses ran into millions. He sold computer systems, cellular phones, cameras, and other electronic items. He did not live there but received a phone call about the fire and upon rushing to the scene, was greeted by the gutted house. He said that he planned to start over noting that he had already been engaged in opening another store. However, he noted that his store was not covered by insurance.

Sitaram’s son, Nageshwar told Stabroek News that the entire family was at the seawall for the Hindu observance of Kartik Snaan when the blaze started. He said that they were alerted by someone and immediately rushed home.  “All I see this whole building was on fire”, he said. “I couldn’t do nothing. I just stand up and watch it”. Nageshwar said that the items lost by the family included two computer systems, a fridge, two welding generators and five sanding and drilling machines. He could not say what caused the blaze saying that the family had not left anything lit. With their home gone, Seenarine said that they do not have anyplace to stay.

Seenarine Sitaram (right) and his son, Nageshwar speaking with reporters yesterday
The gutted home at De Willem.

Meantime, Satesh Lall, a neighbour, said that he first noticed smoke coming from the eastern back section of the house and immediately told the taxi service in front of his home to alert the Fire Service. Then because he feared that the fire would threaten his home, he drove to the Leonora Fire Station to ensure that the firemen were coming. He had also contacted the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s fire tender at Uitvlugt.

While Nageshwar and some other residents complained about the response of the Fire Service, saying that they only came with a little water and one of the pumps did not work, Lall praised their prompt response. He said that it was because of their quick response that his home did not suffer damage.

After the water in the tenders finished, the fire service sourced water from a nearby drain. But, residents said, within the space of 20 minutes the old, wooden building was consumed by the fire. The trucks later returned to the fire station to get more water.
The Fire Service is investigating.

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