A clerk broke into a grilled room and pulled the sleeping woman inside to safety as a fire of unknown origin swept through a building housing two businesses at Lot 23 North Public Road, Belvedere Village, Corentyne yesterday.
The woman, a Chinese national whose name has not been revealed, escaped with only a scratch. However, millions of dollars in goods as wells as personal and household items were lost in the blaze which erupted shortly after 7:30am yesterday. The two-storey building housed the Double Wing Chinese restaurant, a stock feed retail shop and a home.
Chandradatt Kubeer called Ravi, who rescued the woman, was alerted to the fire by neighbours who observed smoke emanating from the western side of the building. He had only minutes earlier, opened the stock feed outlet for business. The woman was asleep in the upper flat of the building, where she lived with her husband.
Kubeer, relating the incident to Stabroek News, said that in company with a neighbour, he mounted the shed extending from the flooring of the upper flat and forcibly removed the metal grill from the window of the room in which the woman lay. “She bin sleeping. She husband left the house minutes before to go buy greens at the market. We break the glass from the window and jump in the bedroom. When we lift she, she started to cough and we bring she back through the window. She only get lil scratch on she leg,” he said.
After rescuing the woman, Kubeer said, he telephoned his employer Kemraj Sukdeo, informing him that “Chiney de on fire”. The woman’s husband known as ‘Wing’ minutes later returned to the scene, but subsequently left for an unknown destination.
Meanwhile, Sukdeo who lives at Albion, which is two villages away, responded immediately and saw a large crowd and a fire tender at the scene.
The businessman lamented the fact that the tenders were inadequately prepared as there were no hydrants nearby to source water. Another tender from the Guyana Sugar Corporation was later summoned and the fire was brought under control 45 minutes later. However at 2:55pm, the fire reignited, forcing the firemen to return to the scene.
Sukdeo who has been operating his business for 12 years from that location recalled that the strong north-western winds fuelled the blaze which started on the western wall and moved backwards destroying the building. Just the front of the edifice and a part of the stock feed retail centre were left intact.
The entrepreneur was unable to state the value of his losses. “Hundreds of bags were destroyed. The heat melted the polythene cases and the water soaked the remainder. Some were saved and I am hoping to recommence business today. I have lost several bills of purchase and stock books among other items which is essential to the Guyana Revenue Authority,” he said.
The building is owned by Bazil Kalamootoo, whose nearby home was also scorched while several windows on the western wall were damaged. He is currently overseas.
Investigations are continuing.