A fire of unknown origin has completely destroyed two buildings on Bishop Street, between Princes and Norton Streets, Georgetown leaving at least 11 people homeless and millions of dollars in losses.
The fire reportedly started about 18:30h in the upper flat of the Lot 32 Bishop Street home and quickly spread to the other building.
Based on reports received, the house in which the fire started was occupied by two families.
The first apartment was occupied by a deejay, Clifton Mosley, and his wife, Gloria Barry, while the other apartment was occupied by the couple’s grandchildren.
According to Barry, she left her apartment and went into the yard to fetch some water and within minutes, she saw smoke billowing from the upper flat of the apartment. She immediately raised an alarm and ran to safety. Her grandchildren also made it to safety.
Speaking with Guyana Times at the scene, Mosley related that he was out and as he returned home, he saw heavy smoke in the air and upon enquiring, he was told that his house was on fire. The devastated man, who sat on his motorcycle helplessly, stated that everything that he worked for over the years went up in flames.
He noted that his most prized possession, his laptop computer was in the house. He could not say what started the fire, but he was thankful that no one was injured.
One man who noticed the fire during its initial stage explained that he immediately went to assist several people who had already formed a bucket brigade, but owing to the dryness of the wood, the houses were quickly engulfed. He further explained that by the time the firefighters arrived at the scene, one of the houses was already unsalvageable and they concentrated on the nearby houses.
He is of the belief if the firefighters had used the Princes Street entrance, they could have saved the second building, but they used the Norton Street entrance.
At the scene, Divisional Operations Officer Compton Sparman told media operatives that the Guyana Fire Service received the call about 18:30h and deployed four units, including two bowsers with almost 4000 gallons of water.
Nevertheless, he noted that as the firefighters assessed the fire, they had to tap into a water source since there were no fire hydrants. He noted that the firefighters worked extremely hard to save the nearby buildings, adding that the area is known for its circle breeze effect.
On this note, he recalled that 13 buildings were destroyed in the same area as a result of the circle breeze effect and as such, commended the firefighters for their exemplary work to contain the blaze.
Meanwhile, at least two persons who occupied nearly buildings were rushed to the hospital. Their conditions are listed as stable. Officials of the Guyana Fire Service have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire while members of the Guyana Police Force were seen taking statements from the occupants of the houses.
This is the third fire for the week. On Sunday, three people, including a one-year-old perished in a fire at Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara, after the house was purposely set ablaze. On Tuesday, another house was set alight by a jilted man at Covent Garden, East Bank Demerara.
It was only yesterday that Fire Chief Marlon Gentle announced that more buildings were destroyed by fire this year when compared to 2016 over the corresponding period. He also noted that some of those fires were acts of arson.