Pensioner, grandson lose home in D’Urban Street

Lennox Smith watching on as firefighters put out small fires still burning amid the remains of his burnt house.

A pensioner is among two D’Urban Street residents who lost their home in a fire yesterday morning.

Lennox Smith, 68, and his grandson, David Harbin, 27, had been the occupants of the two-storey Lot 74 D’Urban Street, Wortmanville residence for almost three decades.

“I’ve been living here since ’91. I went to the hospital and was coming back when I hear me phone ringing nonstop. Some numbers me ain’t recognise and then I see a number I recognise and when I answer is me friend and he tell me what happening,” Smith, who was still visibly shaken, told Stabroek News.

The remains of Lennox Smith’s home (at right) after a fire yesterday morning. The house on the left sustained damage to its eastern wall but was saved from destruction by firefighters.

At the time, Smith stood several feet away from his wooden house, which was almost burnt to the ground, as firefighters continued to extinguish the small fires that were still burning. They were unable to save anything. The fire occurred around 9.30 am. Smith said he had left the house about two hours before and he was unsure how the fire started.

Harbin, a clerk at the Georgetown Public Hospital, related to this newspaper that before he left the house around 7.30am, the only appliance he used was the iron.

“I really don’t understand because I did not have any dealings with the gas stove or anything this morning. I just pressed my clothes and took off the iron and put it back on the table and everything. The switch that the television was plugged into was taken off from the main switch too,” Harbin explained, while pointing out that he was at work when he received a call from someone alerting him to the fire.

Smith was unable to say how much he lost in the fire but in addition to having a “well furnished” house, he said he also had expensive radio equipment that was all “burnt to a crisp.”

Smith’s daughter, who recently migrated, had previously occupied the home with him and his grandson.

While neither Smith nor Harbin nor the Guyana Fire Service was able to immediately ascertain what might have caused the fire, eyewitnesses related that minutes before the fire they noticed an electrical wire sparking outside of the house. “I see it de sparking outside deh and just a sudden the fire start run on the wood and like it catch something inside there and that’s how the whole thing catch afire,” one resident related.  “After about 10 minutes, the whole place start smoke bad, bad and we try brukking through the door at the back to go see if we could put it out but we couldn’t get in the door and the fire de already reach deh,” the resident added, while pointing out that the Guyana Fire Service reached some 15 minutes after but was unable to save the house.

However, the firefighters were able to save a neighbouring wooden house from being destroyed.

Smith and Harbin were unsure of where they would stay. Anyone willing to assist them can contact Harbin on 686-9875.

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