Toddler dies in Mon Repos house fire

Mahin Rampersaud

A toddler died yesterday in a fire that destroyed his Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara home.

In addition to losing their Agriculture Road, Mon Repos home, the members of the Rampersaud family also lost their youngest, Mahin Rampersaud, who was one-year and eight-months-old.

Up to press time, the origin of the fire was unknown.

The fire started around 2 pm.

Speaking to Stabroek News yesterday afternoon, the child’s grandmother, Savita Rampersaud, explained that she, along with four other adults and the child were the only ones at home at the time. However, while the adults were in the lower flat of the house, tending to the family’s small grocery shop, Mahin was sleeping in a room by himself on the upper flat.

She said she heard her grandson screaming and crying.

When she went to check on him, she opened the door to the room and was greeted by intense flames and thick smoke.

“…I see the whole room on fire and me run downstairs and start holler fuh help,” Rampersaud recalled.

After her alarm, neighbours and other nearby residents rushed to the family’s assistance and ensured that the other members were safely removed from the house.

They were forced to stand outside on the parapet and watch as their neighbours valiantly tried to save parts of the house but to no avail. The fire had grown out of control within minutes and the bucket brigade that was formed made no difference.

Family members were unsure how the fire might have started and related that they did not notice anything unusual. They noted that they had a stable supply of electricity during the day and that prior to the discovery by the child’s grandmother, there was no indication that there was a fire.

According to Gobin Rampersaud, Savita’s husband and the child’s grandfather, the family has been living in the house for more than four decades.

Gobin, who was at work at the time of the fire, returned home to find his devastated family and the house he had worked his life building in flames.

With almost everything destroyed, Gobin pointed out that he is of the belief that if the Guyana Fire Service had reached in time, they would have been able to save part of his house.

According to the man, the two fire tenders that showed up came almost an hour after the call was made.

“The fire service waste time and when they come the pump nah pull water from the trench. One come with water and one come without and is like an hour after they arrive. When they reach the house was already done. If they had come earlier and had water they woulda save the house or at least it piece of it,” Gobin recalled.

After the fire, neighbours and residents all banded together to help the family clean up the area. Scores of them were seen clearing the lower flat of the charred wood. Most of the other family members were left speechless.

Mala Rampersaud, Mahin’s mother, who was at work at the time of the fire, could not say anything.

In addition to most of the family’s household items being destroyed, all of their important documents and stocks from the store were also completely burnt.

Anyone interested in assisting the family can contact them at 638-1163.

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