An elderly woman died after her house caught fire yesterday morning trapping her inside. The blaze razed one building at Bella Dam, Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara (WBD) and severely damaged another.
The dead woman is 90-year-old Princess Tinnaman who resided in the upper flat of the Lot 6 Bella Dam, Pouderoyen house with her only daughter, Viven Thomas. One of her granddaughters, Sharon Thomas occupied the lower flat of the building with her son, Bruce Boyd.
The other building badly damaged in the fire which spread from the old wooden house was a branch of the Puran Bros Disposal Service, which also lost two vehicles in the blaze.
The police in a press release said investigations are being conducted into the fire which occurred about 09:50h yesterday and resulted in the death of Tinnaman, whose charred remains were found among the debris.
Stabroek News understands that the fire of unknown origin which started around 9.50 am spread rapidly. The Lot 6 Bella Dam, Pouderoyen house where the fire started has no electricity and there was speculation about what may have caused the huge blaze. Losses were estimated at millions of dollars. Efforts to contact fire chief were unsuccessful.
Sharon Thomas, the granddaughter of the dead woman, told this newspaper that she was sitting on the stairs of the wooden house when she felt tremendous heat coming from the building. As she lifted her head, she saw a huge fire which had already consumed almost the entire upper flat. She said she then immediately thought of her grandmother, whom she last saw in her bedroom lying on the bed. She explained that Tinnaman could move about on her own but not very fast unless she had assistance. According to Sharon, there were attempts to save the old lady from the fire, but to no avail.
One resident recalled seeing flames starting to engulf a bedroom area of the upper flat. The woman said that many persons rushed to the scene and tried to put out the fire by forming a bucket brigade, but the flames had taken too strong a hold. The building was gutted in less than 15 minutes, residents said.
A neighbour recalled hearing a shout for help coming from the elderly woman but because of the difficulty of gaining access to the upper flat she perished.
Tinnaman’s daughter Viven Thomas was rushed to the West Demerara Regional Hospital after she sustained minor injuries in the fire.
Residents voiced their dissatisfaction with the poor response of the fire service, which took hours to arrive on the scene. They added that when the firefighters did eventually arrive they were quite unprepared since they had no water.
At the scene was Lakenauth Pooran, Pro-prietor of Puran Brothers Disposal Service who was speaking with the family of the elderly woman. He said that he was in Georgetown at the time he received the news, and the first thing he did was to contact the fire service which took a while to respond.
Pooran said that he will be erecting a temporary office until he can rebuild. He said that workers and others managed to save some equipment from his building.