Fire destroys four-apartment house in Kitty

A fire yesterday morning completely destroyed a two-storey wooden building at Shell Road, Kitty, leaving some 11 persons homeless.

The Lot 44 Shell Road, Kitty structure which had four apartments went up in flames around 9.30 am yesterday and the tenants estimate their losses to be in the millions.

The 11 occupants included Demali Benjamin, who shared an apartment in the upper flat with her roommate Temeka Halley and Lalita Livan, who shared the other apartment in the upper flat with her husband and daughter, Nicola (only name given).

The names of the persons who lived in the lower flat were not immediately known but according to reports, one of the apartments was rented by a woman police officer.

The completely engulfed Lot 44 Shell Road, Kitty house
The completely engulfed Lot 44 Shell Road, Kitty house

When Stabroek News arrived on the scene, some 10 minutes after the fire started, firefighters were already present trying to extinguish the blaze. A huge crowd had gathered police officers were seen in their numbers trying to maintain order.

Efforts to contact Fire Chief Marlon Gentle yesterday proved futile since calls to his phone went unanswered. However, Officer-in-Charge of Operations at the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) Compton Sparman confirmed that an investigation into the fire has been launched.

According to Sparman, there were allegations that a woman had threatened to burn the building down after being constantly abused by her husband. She is expected to be questioned soon.

At first, while firefighters were trying to contain the blaze concerns were raised that one of the occupants, Livan, could be trapped in the burning building as she had not been seen. But less than an hour after, she was found alive and crying in a nearby street.

The owner of the property, Boyo (only name given) said he was at work when he received a call from a neighbour informing him of the fire. The man said he immediately left work, but by the time he arrived there, in the company of his employer, the house was already destroyed.

Demali Benjamin (centre) being consoled by neighbours.
Demali Benjamin (centre) being consoled by neighbours.

Neighbours highly praised members of the Guyana Fire Service for a job well done. They were able to contain the fire so that it did not spread to other houses situated close by.

Benjamin, an employee of Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) said she was on duty when she received a call from her roommate, Halley who informed her that the entire house was in flames.

Their apartment she said had been fully furnished. She explained that just before the Christmas holiday she had purchased a few new items. “Everything just get destroyed,” Benjamin cried.

Meanwhile, Halley said yesterday was her day off and she was doing some cleaning when she felt intense heat in the building. She managed to grab was her cell phone and passport and ran for safety.

They both were unable to say what their next move would be, while stating that they would most likely have to stay at relatives.

Employees of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) were summoned to the scene and electricity in the community was disrupted until the fire was extinguished.

A neighbour, Cheryl (only name given) said she was doing some household chores when the electricity went off. She then heard an explosion followed by some loud screams. When she looked out, the building was already engulfed.

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