Fire destroys La Grange house; child was playing with lighter; 9 homeless

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

See full statement from the Guyana Fire Service:

Press ReleaseJanuary 2, 2024

The Guyana Fire Service hereby refutes claims in certain sections of the media regarding a fire that destroyed a house at La Grange yesterday afternoon.

The claim that the Fire Service did not bring water to the scene is highly inaccurate; we are more than equipped to handle all fires with water or other extinguishing agents.

It is essential to consider the full context and details of a situation before making such assertions, and the Fire Service would like the general public to be guided accordingly.

At 13:35 hrs yesterday, the Fire Service received a call alerting to a fire at Lot 171, Unity Street, La Grange, West Bank Demerara.

Water tender #111 with a full tank supply (450 gallons) and a crew from the La Grange Fire Station were immediately dispatched to the location and arrived on the scene at 13:45 hrs.

Upon arrival, firefighters observed a two-storey wooden and concrete house fully engulfed in flames and in the final stages of destruction.

The building was located behind several houses and was only accessible via a narrow alleyway.

The distance from the fire truck to the scene of the fire was approximately 250 metres.

Based on the fact that the roof of the building had already collapsed and that no nearby buildings were threatened by the fire, firefighters opted to establish a continuous water relay system using a light pump and an open water source instead of using the tank’s supply.

The building involved was owned by 44-year-old Nigel Douglas.

The first floor of the building was occupied by Douglas, while the ground floor was occupied by 34-year-old Keon Gonsalves and his seven (7) family members.

As a result of the fire, the building and its contents were destroyed, leaving nine (9) persons homeless.

The fire reportedly started after a child was left unattended while playing with a lighter on a chair.

The lighter sparked, resulting in naked flames that fell onto the chair, ignited, and spread to nearby combustible materials.

One jet from light pump #118 working from an open water source was used to extinguish the fire.

The Guyana Fire Service urges persons to seek the facts before making assumptions that discredit the service and question the efforts of our hardworking and dedicated ranks.

We are accessible via our toll-free number, 912, and encourage citizens to contact us with concerns or queries, and most importantly, to inform us of fires as soon as they occur.

Citizens are also advised to exercise caution and follow safety measures to avoid home fires.

Do not leave children unattended or at home without adult supervision.

Educate children on the dangers of fire starters (matches and lighters) and warn them about their use or misuse.

Keep children away from the cooking area, and ensure matches and lighters are out of their reach at all times.

Equip homes with fire alarms, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers; these will aid in alerting people to a fire and putting it out quickly.