A press release from the regional authorities noted that at approximately 14:22 hrs, the Regional Administration received a fire call and immediately dispatched its fire tender.
The tender arrived within four minutes of the initial call and was was driven by the Regional Executive Officer, Ronald Harsawack and another staff, who were both in the Administrative compound at the time of the call.
According to the press release, on arrival two of the four apartments of the wooden and concrete structure were on fire. It was noted that this building housed staff from the Health, Administrative and Public Works Departments of Region Eight.
The release further noted that additional ranks of the Mahdia Fire Auxiliary Brigade later arrived to provide back up. Harsawack said the 450 gallon tank supply was exhausted within three minutes of operation.
At that time, the fire was initially contained until gas cylinders exploded sending flames throughout the entire structure. At this point the fire tender sought to access water from an overhead reservoir from a nearby gas station but efforts proved futile.
The press release noted that the tender then proceeded to a nearby creek to replenish its supply. According to the regional authorities, two of the now homeless victims collapsed at the roadside and immediate medical attention was rendered by the doctors on site.
They were subsequently treated at the Mahdia District Hospital for elevated blood pressure and smoke inhalation.
An adjoining building which houses the doctors was saved with only minor damages to its windows. Members of the Mahdia Fire Brigade and staff of the Regional Administration manned the operation while assistance was rendered by public spirited citizens. The Guyana Police Force was instrumental in keeping the large crowd away, the release noted.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. The Guyana Fire Service is expected to launch an investigation. REO Harsawack said the Regional Administration has made alternative arrangements for housing and other related needs for the victims.