A Railway Line, Kitty couple is presently warded at the city public hospital after they sustained severe burns about their bodies during a gas bottle explosion at their home early yesterday morning.
Stabroek News understands that the incident occurred around 5.15 am at the bottom flat of the Lot 45 Railway Line, Kitty house, occupied by Meera Hemraj, 36 and her husband, Rabi Hemraj, 39.
Reports are that the couple had just awoken and was in the kitchen when a gas bottle exploded as Meera was about to light the gas stove.
Rabi reportedly sustained burns to his arms and legs while Meera was burnt to her upper body.
They were both taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital where they were treated and admitted to the Burn Care Unit, where they remained up to yesterday afternoon. Their conditions are listed as stable.
The incident has also left most of their bottom flat destroyed. When Stabroek News visited the scene, a number of persons were in the process of clearing up the area.
While sections of the concrete wall were still standing, almost every appliance was broken. Clothing and other belongings were also scattered on the ground.
This newspaper was informed that Latchman Samaroo, an occupant of the upper flat of the house, reportedly related to the police that he was sleeping when he was awoken by a loud explosion coming from the kitchen area of the lower flat. As a result, he said he rushed down to enquire what was happening when he saw the couple with injuries to their bodies.
The gas bottle that reportedly exploded was also in the vicinity, he added.
A resident, Lall (only name given), told this newspaper that he was one of the first to make it to the scene.
Lall explained that he and a few of his relatives were just about to start preparing for a religious function.
“All of a sudden suh we hear a ‘boom’. I thought was something like a transformer went off but then when ah watch over the road, I saw smoke coming out of a building so I run across to the people them (Hemraj’s) and ask them wah the problem and then a girl (Meera) run out and seh that how the gas bottle go off and she get burn and she requesting to go to the doctor”, Lall explained.
He said he immediately tried to contact the 911 emergency system but got no answer. “….We call 911, we call the fire service, futile, because nobody ain’t answering the phone, nothing, so we ain’t get in contact with no one”, he said.
By this time, neighbours were alerted and they rushed over to render their assistance.
According to Lall, the occupants of the top flat were trapped in the house for a while since they could not find the key to open the door.
“….So they had to come out ah some window at the side and then the neighbour go over with a fire extinguisher and try fuh see…..but there wasn’t no fire, just smoke and then subsequently the neighbour go over back and bring a ladder to assist them to bring down the children….then a … guy go and he start, well he was trying to get inside right but when he realised that the front window have grill work he did lashing the glass so I tell he it aint make sense to break it and it got grill work”, Lall recalled.
He said they eventually made their way out of the house.
The Guyana Fire Service and the ambulance subsequently arrived by which time the victims were already transported to the hospital by a taxi.
Another resident, Esther (only name given) said she heard the explosion all the way from her Austin Street, Campbellville home.
Esther explained that she and her husband had just awoken when she received a call from a friend informing her of the incident.
“I does wake up early so after we heard the thing, we didn’t take it fuh nothing. We thought was some tyre did burst or something but after my friend call me from Shell Road and she ask me if I hear that fire deh pun the line top, I tell she no and then me and meh husband come out and go to see wah happen but when we reach we didn’t see no fire”, she related.
Esther said when she arrived at the scene, the injured Meera was seated in a car to be taken to the hospital. Rabi was about to join her, she added.
Meanwhile, another resident, Marlon Nurse, said the explosion shook his entire house. “Everybody get up and run outside…I couldn’t even think what was it because the whole house shook”, Nurse said.
He said when he exited his house, he noticed a man on the road who was shouting to the occupants to ‘Get out’.
The Guyana Fire Service and the police have since launched an investigation into the incident.