The ongoing investigation into the February 23rd fire at Victoria Street, Plaisance, East Coast Demerara, which claimed a life and destroyed three properties, including an apartment building, has found that the origin of the blaze wasn’t electrical.
“What we do know about this fire is that it occurred as a [result of] direct human causation, it wasn’t electrical,” a Guyana Fire Service source, who is close to the investigation, told Stabroek News.
The source added that it is yet to be determined if the fire was caused due to the actions of a mentally unstable resident, who was considered a person of interest by investigators.
The man, the source explained, has provided investigators with conflicting reports of what transpired. Approximately 30 persons were displaced by the fire, which destroyed three Victoria Road houses, including an apartment building, and scorched nearby properties.
The following day, when investigators returned to the scene, they stumbled upon skeletal remains, suspected to be those of 80-year-old James Johnson, who is believed to have perished in the fire.
Johnson occupied one of the rooms in the apartment building.
A source close to the investigation had previously related to this newspaper that while the buildings in the street had been experiencing electrical issues prior to the fire, the findings are pointing in the direction of negligence as being the cause of the fire.
Following the fire, several government ministers, including Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally, Junior Minister of Natural Resources Simona Broomes and Minister of State Joseph Harmon had visited the victims and made donations.
Temporary shelters were provided to the victims and up to last month, 15 of them were still staying at the Plaisance Community Centre and were seeking the government’s assistance for a return to normalcy.