Fire Truck that responded to Berbice fire had dysfunctional generator, could not pump water

A fire truck on the scene

By: Andrew Carmichael

Five persons are now homeless after a fire of unknown origin completely destroyed their home at Port Mourant, Region Six (East Berbice Corentyne).

Tagpattie Jhangu, a 36-year-old businesswoman, said she was in the lower flat of the building when she was informed that her house was on fire.

At the time, she said no one was in the upper flat.

“I wish I know what caused the fire. My husband was in the hammock and I was in the kitchen and he tell me look fire… I run upstairs to look for the children,” she explained.

However, when the fire started her three children were in the lower flat.

She said by the time she got to the upper flat it was engulfed; hence she could not say what part of the house the fire started.

She noted that the upper flat consist of three bedrooms.

Tagpattie Jhangu

“There are no points upstairs because it is solar [power] we are using. Is only the on and off light switch upstairs.”

Responding to the scene was a unit from the Rose Hall Town Fire Department but the firefighters could not get the generator to work and as such, they were unable to pump water from the canal to put out the blaze.

Luckily, a lorry with field workers attached to the Albion Sugar Estate was passing and stopped to render assistance.

The workers dashed out of the vehicle and collected every bucket they could get from the community, while the official firefighters were still trying to get their equipment to work.

Subsequently, a unit from the New Amsterdam Fire Department, some 18 miles away, was summoned and arrived to assist.

The house which was completely destroyed

Divisional Fire Officer Haimchandra Persaud admitted that there were some challenges.

“The Rose Hall Fire department which is in close proximity responded, there were some challenges which developed and support came from New Amsterdam Fire Station,” he noted.

The senior fire officer was high in his praise for the efforts of residents and other public-spirited persons.

As a result of their efforts, two neighbouring buildings were saved.

An investigation into the cause of the fire has since been launched.