A fire destroyed a house in West Ruimveldt yesterday morning, leaving four persons without a home.
The single-storey house, located at 638 Cactus Street, West Ruimveldt, was home to Amiba Moore, her husband, and their two children. The woman’s two elderly aunts, visiting from the United States of America, were also at the house at the time of the fire.
The Guyana Fire Service’s response was criticised as inadequate and persons at the scene suggested that the house could have been saved if firefighters arrived earlier.
Although the origin of the fire was unknown, Moore and her family suggested that it might have been electrical, since power had only returned to the home just minutes before the blaze started.
The fire started sometime between 11:30 and 11:45, when Moore had been at work.
After learning of the fire, she rushed home and discovered her house burnt to the ground.
According to Moore, there was a blackout during the day and power was only restored five minutes before the fire started.
She said she was told the fire started in the bedroom at the back and when her aunts became aware of it, they ran out of the house.
Delores Smith, one of Moore’s aunts, had been sewing when she realised the house was on fire. “I’m a seamstress so when the light came on back, I went to sew the people wedding work—which bun up—when I felt a blazing heat around me. I look up and there the smoke and fire was. I hurry to my sister, who couldn’t move properly, and we both ran out of the house,” Smith told Stabroek News.
She said she did not have the chance to save anything but the clothes they were wearing.
Despite the tragedy, she was grateful that no one was harmed. “God is in charge and all is well. We are all alive. I have a four-year-old nephew and when he comes from school midday, the first thing he would do when he finishes taking his clothes off is go in the back and turn on the television. Had he been home he would’ve probably been burn and then I would’ve been angry,” she added.
Jeanann Richardson, the neighbour who alerted Moore about the fire, recalled seeing smoke. “I just see it coming out, the smoke coming out from the back and next thing you know the house went, ‘voop,’ and the fire just come out quick, quick. She said she called the fire service but they did not reach in time. A carpenter, who was working on a house two lots away from Moore’s house, also said the fire service took some 15 to 20 minutes to arrive after the start of the fire.
When they did arrive, he added, they did not even have enough water to try to salvage anything and had to wait on two other fire tenders. The carpenter, who asked not to be named, said the house could have been saved if the fire service’s response was a bit more prompt and efficient.
When asked about her estimated loss, Moore said, “Oh gosh, millions; we did our patio, we did our bathroom, I furnished my kids room for Christmas, ugh, millions.”