The wooden home of a Diamond, East Bank Demerara family of six went up flames yesterday afternoon, after a fire was started by a child who was playing with a sparkle stick.
“The seven-year-old and the nine-year-old [were] playing with the lil [sparkle stick] and like it ketch on pon something in the house and big fire… everything, everything destroyed,” mother of three Nichola Singh told Stabroek News.
“We buy the squib for the season. We celebrating Diwali tomorrow but I hide the things and I don’t know how them children find it,” the woman added.
Singh, 31, explained that she was not at home at the time of the fire as she had gone to a small shop she rented a few streets away. She said the fire started sometime shortly after 4 pm and within 20 minutes the entire house was destroyed.
The woman had left her children in the care of her mother, Carmelita Singh. When Stabroek News visited the Lot 1982 Diamond New Scheme location, the elder Singh, who was distraught, was being comforted by her neighbours. They told this newspaper that they would give her shelter for the night.
A neighbour related that he was in his yard when he saw huge flames emanating from inside the rear half of the home, which was partitioned into two. He said almost immediately he saw the children running out into the yard. Their grandmother, he said, seemed to have been taking a bath because amidst shouts, she emerged clad only in her towel and ran out to the road.
Neighbours rushed to form a bucket brigade but there was not much they could do as the home was totally engulfed and the flames posed a threat to the neighbouring homes.
A fire tender from the Diamond Fire Station swiftly responded and got the flames under control, saving the neighbouring properties.
However, the side and the roof of the house at Lot 1981 was scorched and the PVC guttering had melted. The neighbours with whom Carmelita Singh will be staying also had the side of their house scorched.
Nichola Singh yesterday issued an appeal to authorities for help to regain her ID card and passport, which were both destroy-ed. Her children, who all attend schools in the area, also lost their birth certificates and passports.
She said that nothing was saved from either homes and asking the public for whatever help they could afford to give her.
“I am a single mother and I work very hard but now I have nothing. The children school clothes, all the documents I had, everything I own gone up flames,” she lamented.
“The land is not my own. Is my mother and she live in front and I build up something at the back and my other sister. I had applied years to housing for a piece of land but all now we ain’t get through and them papers too burn up. I only start the lil business at the front about two months ago so I don’t have nothing really. Anything, if is some school clothes and books for the children, we [are] grateful because the girl will write common entrance next year and have to go school as soon as possible. We don’t have anything,” she added.
Anyone wishing to offer assistance can contact Nichola Singh at 660-6085