Six persons including three children are now homeless after a fire, believed to be an act of arson, yesterday morning destroyed the Enterprise, East Coast Demerara (ECD) house they were renting.
The Lot 507 Forbes Street, Enterprise, ECD house which is owned by Anjanee Singh and her siblings went up in flames around 11.30am yesterday.
Rajpattie Madray, 37, lived alone in the lower flat while her brother, Vickram Sookraj, 30, a fisherman occupied the upper flat with his wife and three children ages; two, three and five weeks.
At the time of the fire only Madray and her three-year-old niece were at home.
Reports reaching Stabroek News revealed that three men turned up at the house in a car. Two of the men, exited the car and asked Madray for an individual by the name of `Pumpkin’.
Madray told them she didn’t know anyone by that name but they still proceeded up the stairs. When she attempted to follow them, the men prevented her and subsequently left after which she noticed the entire house was engulfed in fire.
The Guyana Fire Service was summoned and they arrived promptly. However, they did not manage to save the house which was consumed in a matter of minutes.
An investigation has since been launched by the police and Guyana Fire Service. A senior fire official related to Stabroek News that the fire is being investigated as an act of arson. The source said while the motive is yet to be determined, it appeared to be as a result of an old grievance.
When Stabroek News arrived at the scene, a large crowd had gathered on the road and two fire tenders had already arrived. While fire-fighters were trying to put out the blaze, officials from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) arrived and disconnected electricity in the area since the wires were sparking due to the intense heat.
When asked about her losses, the visibly shaken Madray could not provide an estimate. “Meh can’t really seh, is plenty, plenty thing”, she said.
Meanwhile, her brother, Sookraj had just returned from sea where he had worked for the past three days when he was greeted by the burning house. “Ah come home me ah come from sea and me see the house pun fyah”, the teary-eyed Sookraj said.
“It nah reach one hour now me come in….is walk me been a walk from road and when we reach the house done bun down”, he said.
Sookraj’s wife was unaware of the fire since she was at the hospital with their youngest child who is unwell. The siblings were unable to save anything and are unsure about their next move.
The owner of the house, Singh, who also lives in the area, said she was at home when she received a call from someone who informed her of the fire. “Somebody call meh and tell meh that how meh father house ah burn suh then meh come”, Singh said.
By the time she arrived at the scene, she said the entire house was already engulfed in flames. She said the house was rented to the siblings by her nephew. The nephew who was also at the scene of the fire briefly related to Stabroek News that around October last year he rented the upper flat to Sookraj and several months after he requested the lower flat for his sister. Both the family and occupants maintain that they do not know the suspected arsonists.
A neighbour, Lisa Ramdeen said she was cleaning her house when she was alerted by screams coming from another neighbour.
“I hear the infront neighbour was screaming and then when I look through the window, I saw the fire in the middle room”, Ramdeen said
She said she, too, started to scream. “Me start holler then me mommy start holler too because she ah call fuh me, she want me come downstairs because upstairs got current and stuff and then me cut off the main switch”, she related.
Ramdeen said a few residents had to assist in soaking the back wall of their house to avoid it from catching fire since it was located close to the burnt house. “…Them boys start throw water pun the wall because it been ah get hot”, she said.
“Ah going out we did going out you know and we hear the scream out and me seh oh God leh me come out and see wah happen then me see the fire”, another resident related.
Meanwhile, Natasha (only name given) said she was on her phone when she saw Madray outside and a fellow villager screaming that smoke was coming from the window. “Suh all me coulda do was holler fuh she (Madray) and leh she come over hay”, Natasha said.