Five persons are now homeless after a mid-afternoon fire in Diamond, East Bank Demerara razed their wooden flat house on Wednesday.
The blaze started just before 16:00h at the Lot 1892 20th Avenue, Great Diamond home.
INews was told that the house is divided into two apartments – owner Carmalita Singh lived in the front half, while her daughter and three grandchildren occupied the other half that was separated by a wall.
At the time of the fire, Singh was at home with the three grandchildren – aged 12, nine and five.
Speaking with this publication, the distraught woman related that she had just finished her chores, and was taking a shower when she heard her grandson screaming loudly.
Singh said she thought the lad had taken a beating from his mother, but she decided to investigate anyway.
“So I decide to run in the house by my daughter side, and when I reach in, the fire was close to the bedroom area, high up,” she recalled.
The woman said her grandsons were playing with firecrackers all morning, and she had cautioned them to desist from so doing.
However, she could not say whether the fire was lit by the children, but added that it could be that the explosives they were playing with could have fallen into the bedroom unknowing to them.
“Whole morning I telling them don’t play with this (sparkle), and I said y’all don’t play with this thing…(One of the boys) was lighting like a steel wool, he was playing with a steel wool or whatever, and I don’t know if he was conscious that piece fall in the bedroom,” Singh explained.
The woman went on to relate that after seeing the fire, she attempted to turn off the main switch which was in her daughter’s apartment, but the heat was too much. She then rushed over to her quarters to grab her documents, but the fire had already started spreading into her space as well.
She continued that she ran out to full water and at the same time alert her neighbour.
“It didn’t really had nobody around that I could have called. I called for the neighbour, but she live alone, so it didn’t had any male persons around to help me. I get so stupid I call for the other neighbour, and by then people start running coming… One of my son’s friend come and he started dipping gutter water, and then everybody started helping,” the woman recalled with tears in her eyes.
Singh further told this publication that about two months back, one of her other grandsons had started a fire next to the gas bottle, burning two kitchen towels. She has since been cautioning the kids against playing with fire, and had warned their mother to keep a close eye on them.
“I’m just confused… I work and build this, nobody don’t help me,” cried the woman who moved into the house only three years ago. At the time she was speaking with this publication, Singh had a towel wrapped around her back – that was the only belonging she is left with. Her neighbour had to provide her with clothing to change into, since she was showering at the time of the fire and rushed out wrapped in her towel.
However, after dousing the blaze, fire fighters were able to salvage some of Singh’s important documents, like her transport, but that was all that was saved.
Meanwhile, her daughter, Nicole Singh, related that she was at her place of business when a neighbour called and told her that the house was on fire. However, she thought the man was pulling a prank on her, until he put someone else on the phone to confirm the news. She said she immediately left to go home.
“When I was coming, the fire truck was actually in front of me, and when I reach home, the place was almost burnt to the ground,” she recalled. The woman said she does not know exactly what happened, but her mother told her that the children were playing with explosives in the house.
Luckily, none of the kids were injured in the fire. “I lost everything, every single thing that was in the place…Was a good house, we had everything inside,” said the daughter.