After eight years of dedication and hard work, a Glasgow couple was faced with a homeowner’s worst nightmare, a fire, of so far unknown origin, destroying their three-bedroom home, located at Lot 821 Glasgow Housing Scheme, New Amsterdam, Berbice, yesterday at about 10:15 am.
An eyewitness told Stabroek News “When I ran out of my yard, there was smoke coming out at the back of the house, there were no flames and everybody start forming a bucket brigade, to assist in dousing the fire”.
Abigail Riddle, 52, market vendor, was sitting on a piece of wood in front of her house staring at it with reddened eyes contemplating her next move. When Stabroek News spoke with her, she said that she was at the New Amsterdam market when she received a message that her house was burning down.
She explained that when she rushed home, neighbours and family who were present would not allow her to go close to the fire. When asked how she plans on moving on, Abigail said “this is just material things, it is hard, yes I feel hurt I work to achieve this without going and borrowing a loan, it is hard, but God knows best. I am not questioning God”.
Her husband, Clive Riddle, 65, said that he left home around 10 am yesterday and about 15 minutes later he got the message.
Clive, who is a carpenter/contractor said all of his working tools were lost in the fire. Items that he was able to recall offhand are a compressor, pump, slasher, saws (three), plane, generator, router etc. He estimated the tools cost about $2.5M in total.
The couple said that they worked for eight years to build and furnish their home “piece by piece” and only recently they were finishing up the painting.
Neighbours vented their frustration at the fire service. According to eyewitnesses, the fire service was immediately summoned and took about 45 minutes to arrive.
One neighbour said “they were kind of lackadaisical on this fire, because them come and then take about half an hour before them go get some water from the canal”. Two fire tenders come and one had some water alone, she added. She went on to state that the Rose Hall Estate fire truck then came and assisted in outing the fire.
The couple explained that they were keeping items for their neighbour, as the neighbour’s house is also under construction. The materials were estimated at $1.2M.
The Riddles estimated their home to cost approximately $12M. The couple will be staying with an aunt in Stanleytown, New Amsterdam, until they decide their next move.