A Berbice businessman, his wife and two children had to jump off a shed to safety after a fire completely destroyed his two-storey wooden and concrete house at around 03:00hrs on Tuesday.
Sixty-three-year old Harrinarine Singh called ‘Sham’ of Number 75 Village Corriverton, East Berbice-Corentyne, operated a block making business at the house; he is also large scale distributor of fish.
Singh believes that it was an act of arson as he noted that the fire started in a section of the bottom flat of the house where there were no electrical appliances.
The fire also spread to the side of the neighbour’s house, destroying the walls, windows, pipes and a pick-up truck that was parked in the yard.
The businessman told the News Room that he recently purchased new equipment and trucks for his work much to the envy of “certain people.”
Singh estimates his losses to be in excess of $50M. Some of the losses he suffered include vehicle parts, two new chainsaws, three large ice containers, freezers and his licensed firearm, among other items.
Three trucks and a car were saved because they were parked on the road.
Singh told the News Room that 30 minutes after he retired to bed, he heard the continuous honking of a vehicle horn; upon checking he realized someone was trying to get his attention to alert him of the fire.
The businessman woke up his wife and children – ages 4 and 13 – to get them out of the house. Because there was a power outage, the family could not find the keys and was forced to jump through the window.
By that time, the entire upper flat was already engulfed in flames. Singh said he and his family arrived home 30 minutes after midnight from a function and spent about an hour talking before going to bed.
Singh lamented the poor response from the Guyana Fire Service; he said the pump was not working. According to the businessman, a portion of his house could have been saved if the firefighters were properly equipped.
“When they arrived only the back of the house was on fire, if the pump was working well they could have save in front,” Sing told the News Room.
An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the fire.