Early yesterday morning a two-storey dilapidated wooden house was completely destroyed after a ‘bottle lamp’ (flambeau) fell and set it ablaze.
A man, his teenage son and several other male relatives are now homeless and police, residents said, arrested two adult males following the fire. The men were in police custody up to late yesterday afternoon assisting with investigations.
Several residents told this newspaper that the man whose family owns the house had been living there for several decades. Periodically, friends and other relatives would stay with him at the Lot 301 Third Street, Grove, New Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara house.
Lot 301, according to residents, does not have an electricity connection and the occupants used bottle lamps at night for light. The men, neighours reported, cooked on an indoor fireside.
The houses located on either side of Lot 301 were scorched. However, the occupants of these homes did not report serious damage.
Faizal Rahaman said that some time around 2 am he heard one of the men from the Lot 301 house calling out to him. The man, according to Rahaman, would normally call for him when he wanted a “lil raise”.
“I wasn’t getting up at that hour of the morning to give nobody any money,” the owner of the Lot 299 house said. “But after he keep shouting I get up and when I look over to the side I see the whole house next door on fire.”
His children’s bedrooms, Rahaman said, are on the northern side of the house which was being affected by the heat and smoke and all he could do was wake them up and rush them across the road to his neighbour.
After his house was evacuated, the man recalled, neighbours started up a bucket brigade to soak the side of his house.
About 20 minutes after he first saw the fire, Rahaman said, fire fighters arrived at the scene and were able to put out the flames. However, they were too late to save the house.
“Even if the firemen did reach faster they still couldn’t save the house, it was old wood and it was in a state so in no time at all the fire eat it out,” Rahaman said.
The man said that other than his wall that was scorched nothing else was damaged.
He also spoke out against what he described as the “negligent” behaviour of his Lot 301 neighbours.
“The men in that house does always be smoking up their thing and drinking and so and is just the other day police had to arrest one of them for abusing someone,” Rahaman said. “This morning [yesterday] one of them tell me that is the bottle lamp fall down and start the fire.”
The neighbour south of the Lot 301 structure was also affected by the blaze. The upper flat windows and wall of that wooden structure were scorched and some items inside the house were damaged by water after the building was soaked by firefighters to protect it from further heat damage.
When Stabroek News visited the location yesterday morning the occupants of the house were seen putting out their mattresses and pieces of furniture to dry.
“You know how many time we always complaining about these men in this house,” another resident who lives across the street from the scene of the fire said. “But they get lock up for two mornings and then they back with the nonsense again.”