La Jalousie family homeless after fire

A family of five is now homeless after an early morning fire gutted their two-storey, La Jalousie, West Coast Demerara home yesterday.

Sixty-one-year-old Parbattie Baggie along with her son, her daughter-in-law and her two grandchildren are now forced to seek shelter at their family after a fire that is believed to be electrical in origin ripped through their home around 10 am.

According to Baggie, she was on the lower flat with her grandchildren cooking when a neighbour related to her that she was seeing heavy smoke coming from the back of the house.

“Me been deh downstairs ah cook. The two children ah play and an old man that does beg de sit down downstairs and me neighbour seh somebody ah bun and watch smoke. Me peep at the back, me peep at the side and me nah see nothing,” she told Stabroek News.

The charred remains of Parbattie Baggie’s two-storey La Jalousie, West Coast Demerara, home.

After the woman did not notice the fire that was already ripping through the top floor of the building, she said she went back into the house. She didn’t realise what was happening until another neighbour who was passing through the street at the time raised an alarm.

“A boy passing and seh look fire in the house and by time I run up the stairs me couldn’t mek it so me run down back because the fire spread big and then things start pelt up and buss up in the house,” the still traumatized woman recalled.

She said that as soon as her worst fear was confirmed she raced back down the stairs and started shouting for her other son, Ramnaresh Ramdan, who lives obliquely opposite her home, to assist her.

“She holla fuh me and she seh come grab these pickney and I run over and when I grab them I see the whole one side of the house on fire,” Ramdan told Stabroek News.

After he was able to rescue his mother and his niece and nephew, Ramdan said he along with several neighbours charged the house, armed with their buckets and water from nearby drains, and tried to put the fire out. However, the fire was too strong and they were unable to put it out.  The fire continued to burn for more than an hour before the Guyana Fire Service firetrucks arrived on the scene.

“It took them more than an hour fuh come and they right in Leonora that deh like 15 minutes away. By time they come the fire big, big and they couldn’t do nothing about it,” Ramdan said.

When questioned on what he thought might have started the fire, Ramdan said that he believes it was started by a faulty transformer in the area.

“You could ask anybody about this transformer and they will tell you the same. We does call in GPL [Guyana Power and Light] about it all the time and they does barely do anything. You check GPL how much complaint they got for this one transformer and you gon see. They have to do something about it before it cause a fire at somebody else house,” one neighbour said.

Ramdan also said that the area frequently experiences power fluctuations which cause their electrical appliances to go on and off.  Baggie was only able to save two refrigerators and a stove, while everything else including clothes and important documents and money were burned to ashes.

Baggie is now seeking assistance to help rebuild her home. Anyone willing to help her and her family can contact them on 652-5860.

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