Fire destroys Cummings Lodge apartment complex

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Dozens of University of Guyana and Texila University students including Indian nationals were on Friday night left with just the clothing on their backs as their Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, apartment building went up in flames.
The fire started sometime around 20:45h in the ground floor of the ‘University Off-Campus Lodge’ located in Third Street, Cummings Lodge. The building reportedly has some 30 apartments, all of which were occupied.

According to information reaching Inews, the fire started in one of the western apartments on the ground floor of the building. One of the occupants of the building told reporters that he was in his apartment when he started to smell something burning and upon investigating, he observed smoke emanating from ground floor apartment.

The young man said that he alerted another man, who was out on the road at the time and they kicked down the door to the apartment.

“No one was home so we kicked the door down and that’s when we saw the wire sparking and smoke everywhere,” the young man related.

Another person, who lives in another apartment building just next door, explained that he was in his quarters when he heard someone screaming “fire”.

“When I came out, there was heavy smoke coming from the building and the fire was now starting up,” the man related.

The blaze quickly spread and within minutes engulfed the entire upper-flat of the two-storey building, which had a wooden top and concrete bottom.

According to persons on the scene, when the fire service arrived, firemen took some time before they began tackling the inferno. “There was no water when they came and they just stand up looking at the fire. But if they had tackled the fire from the time they got here it won’t have spread and gotten so big,” one man noted.

Another witness related to this publication that the fire fighters quickly ran out of water and so they could not have completely put out the blaze. There were also no fire hydrants in the area.

“The fire wasn’t all that big but the fire tenders didn’t have enough water. If they had enough water, I think the back and the rest of the building would have been saved. There was a fireman at the back of the building standing on a tank with the hose and no water inside, and the building just burning,” the witness explained.

At the scene, many of the occupants of the apartment building stood as they watched the fire engulf the entire building, destroying everything inside.

The foreign occupants studying at the Texila American University, were traumatised and in a state of confusion as they contemplated their next move. One of them was heard asking the Police Officers at the scene about getting back their travel documents, including their passports.

Another one of the occupants, whose apartment was still untouched by the blaze after some 45 minutes, vented his frustration at the fire service saying that his living quarters could have been saved if efforts were taken to douse the fire.

Meanwhile, two hours after the fire started, firemen were still struggling to contain the blaze since the availability of water was limited.

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