Drunken man sets fire to house

– wife, children, others homeless

A mother and her three children are now homeless after their drunken father set their Friendship, East Bank Demerara home on fire on Thursday night.

Cheryl Kattow was last night being sheltered by a relative while her husband, Winston Kattow, is on the run. Police said that they are seeking the chainsaw operator in relation to the alleged arson. The police said in a press release that the incident occurred at about 9:30 pm on Thursday.

“Investigations have so far revealed that during a domestic argument with his wife, a man threw kerosene on a mattress and lit it afire which subsequently resulted in the complete destruction of the house,” the release said.

Cheryl Kattow told Stabroek News that her husband came home in a drunken state on Thursday and she told her cousin who also lives there, not to open the door for him. Kattow recounted that her husband demanded that they open the door, then kicked it twice before breaking a window and entering. The couple, their three children (ages six, three and nine months) as well as Kattow’s cousin and her son live at the home.

Kattow said she hid as her husband demanded to be told her whereabouts. He then told her cousin, Diane Mark, that she was going to “face the consequences” since his wife was not around, Kattow recalled. She said that her husband then threw a battery-operated lamp at Marks who pleaded with him to behave.

The man then walked out and she could not see what he did from her hiding place, Kattow said. However, she heard as her cousin asked him what he was doing and then the flames started. Kattow said that her husband had dragged a mattress out of the room, sprinkled kerosene on it and set it afire. It quickly caught.

Kattow recounted hearing Mark plead for the man to open the door but he refused. Mark was holding their daughter in her hands. “When the fire deh halfway through the house, then he decide to open the door,” she recalled. Her six-year-old son ran outside but her three-year-old daughter was left inside. After her cousin called attention to this, her husband ran inside to get the little girl.

Kattow said that when she heard the door open, she escaped by jumping out the window. She said that her husband fled and they saved nothing. The matter was reported to the police and she was being accommodated by a relative last evening as she pondered her next move.

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