Major fire guts Annai benab, four other buildings

-embers from garbage heap seen as cause

Several persons were left homeless following an afternoon fire at Annai in Region 9 (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) on Monday which was caused by embers from a nearby garbage heap

According to reports, Central Annai resident Deroy Milton, who lives close by, lost his home and two other buildings from which he and his wife operate a cassava mill. The community’s main marketplace which was housed in two thatched roof buildings was also gutted during the blaze. No injuries were reported.

Annai resident Phyllis Joseph told Stabroek News yesterday from the community’s village  phone that the fire began sometime around 3:45 pm on Monday while a woman in the area  was burning garbage. She said that a piece of paper from the garbage heap “fly up in the air and it land on the benab and by the breeze was  blowing…it start spread”. She said that residents attempted to save the benab but she noted that the fire was too much, adding that within the space of five minutes all five buildings were ablaze.

Joseph noted that residents at the savannah community made desperate attempts to save the buildings but only managed to salvage pieces of furniture, clothes and other valuables from the burning buildings.

She said that Milton and his family, including his five children suffered major losses “except for the clothes them had on and some furniture”. The man‘s cassava mill was his main source of income, she noted. While she could not provide an estimate Joseph noted too that several persons who operate businesses at the market suffered losses.

According to Joseph, the regional authorities, including the District Development Officer, Carl Singh, met with residents yesterday to discuss plans for assisting those affected by the fire. Regional Executive Officer of Region Nine, Ronald Harsawack was also expected to visit the community yesterday to speak with residents, this newspaper was told.

Region 9 Chairman Clarendo Lucas told Stabroek News yesterday that the administration has already set in motion a plan to assist those persons who were affected by the fire. He noted too that rebuilding of the benab is also on the cards, adding that the government has pledged to assist in the rebuilding of the structure.

The benab, which was built close to a decade ago, is a familiar sight at Central Annai and the facility is used to host village meetings, workshops and other events in the community.

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