A man died last evening after a dilapidated house on D’Urban Street, in the city crashed down on him.

Dead is Ato Lewis, 26, who resided at the house at Lot 6, D’Urban Street, Wortmanville. The house is located obliquely opposite the Wortmanville Assemblies of God Church. The man was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) at 6:37 pm, according to hospital records. His neck was broken and he also sustained a broken leg and injuries to his torso.

According to reports, sometime around 6:15 pm last evening, Lewis and several other persons were moving pieces of furniture out of the house when the incident occurred. Four families resided at the house.

Dead: Ato Lewis

ccording to an eyewitness, who gave his name as Junior, he was sitting on the front stairway of his home, which is located behind Lewis’ house, when he heard a loud crack emanating from the foundation of the house. He said that the house had been “swaying” for several months. The man noted that Lewis, who was his friend, along with the occupants began to frantically remove their belongings from the house, while he too removed a small motor scooter from under the structure.

The man said that within a matter of minutes after he removed his scooter, the house came crashing down on its right side. He noted that by then several persons had exited the house. He said that it was only after persons heard the cries of a barking dog that someone recalled seeing Lewis under the house.

Another eyewitness recounted that he saw Lewis at the bottom of the house a few minutes before the incident and he noted that the young man went to retrieve some of his belongings at the time.

The collapsed house

“I see Ato just before the thing happen and I call out to he and tell he move from under deh but he had to go back and collect something,” the worried man noted.

After the house fell off of its foundation, several checks were made and the man’s feet were seen under a beam and an eyewitness noted that several efforts were then made to pull him out.

When this newspaper arrived on the scene, police traffic officers had cordoned off a section of D’Urban Street, between Louisa Row and Hardina Street, as an ambulance arrived at the scene.

With a huge crowd gathered at the scene within minutes of the incident, Lewis’ body was placed in the ambulance and he was rushed to the GPH as relatives reacted in horror at the sight of him.

The collapsed house

Several police officers were restraining the crowd which gathered, while personnel attached to the power company were in the process of disconnecting the power wires, which ran to the house. Lewis’ relatives were too distraught to speak when approached by this newspaper and his father broke down in tears as the relatives received the news that the doctors at GPHC had confirmed the man’s death.

An occupant of the house, who asked not to be named, told Stabroek News that several of her belongings were already removed from the building before the incident occurred. She said that the family could not estimate their losses at the time, while adding that they were many.

Another family member who lived at the house said that while he could not estimate his losses, he and his family were lucky to be alive. He said that moments before the incident, two children were in the house but someone cautioned the duo to exit the building.

Fire Chief Marlon Gentle, who was on the scene at the time of the incident, briefly told the media that the fire service arrived at the scene several minutes after the incident and he said that the building was a structural hazard.

He said that the firemen utilised a hydraulic lift to raise the building in order to retrieve the man’s body while several checks were being made at the time to verify that no one else was trapped.

The dog was later hauled from under the building. The animal sustained minor injuries.