5 homeless after child sets fire to pillow

…Fire Service calls on parents to monitor children

Five persons are now homeless after a five-year-old child allegedly set fire to a bed in their home at Charles Place, New Amsterdam, Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) on Tuesday evening.

Marlon Deon, 24, and his wife Christina Nandlall, 25, lived in the one flat, two-bedroom building at Lot 25-13 Charles Place, along with their children aged three, five and eight. Reports are that the fire erupted at their home at approximately 20:00h, and according to Christina Nandlall, her reputed husband was not at home, and she and the children were standing on the road in front of their home, awaiting his return.

Marlon Deon and his reputed wife Christina Nandlall standing in front of their Charles Place, New Amsterdam home which was burnt to the ground

She said she had sent her five-year-old child into the home since she was trying to take away a sweet from her younger brother. However, a short while later, the child returned and joined the rest of her family.

“A cigarette lighter was over the bed, and she take it down and light a pillow, and she come outside and was with me all the time, and I didn’t know until I look by the door then I see the fire.”

Nandlall said that when she went into the house, the fire was raging and had taken over the bed and sections of the wall. Fire, she added, was also under the bed. “Because a sponge mattress was under the bed too.”

The woman said that with the aid of a neighbour, a bucket brigade was formed, but that was not very helpful, and the Fire Service was summoned.

“The water could not stop the fire, because the fire keep spreading, and one of our friends from the next house come and help throwing water, but the water could not do nothing because the pipe was running slow and we didn’t have enough water,” she added.

According to Deon, a labourer who uses a wooden pushcart to provide services to vendors and shoppers at the New Amsterdam Market, all of his savings were lost in the fire. In addition, his children have lost their school supplies. He explained that they were not able to save anything.

Deon noted that he and the rest of his family spent Tuesday evening at his mother-in-law’s home in Mount Sinai, which is on the eastern fringes of the town and is a section considered a slum. However, he was unsure what would become of the family over the next few days. The couple had been living in the two-bedroom one-storey building which is owned by Deon’s grandmother for several years.

Monitor children

Divisional Fire Officer Fitzroy Sutton said two units arrived at the scene within minutes of receiving the call, and were able to use water in the tanks to control the blaze.

Sutton said that besides no one being injured, the GFS was able to prevent the fire from spreading to other buildings.

The senior Fire Officer noted that an unattended child left playing with a cigarette lighter is the cause which the Fire Service has recorded.

“I am pleading with parents to be careful at this festive season; to take care of your children; leave them with someone who can take care of them if you are working. This is the festive season, what you are working so hard for all year or ten years could go down so quickly,” Divisional Fire Officer Sutton said.

Meanwhile, the couple is pleading with the public for assistance in helping them to rebuild. They can be contacted on telephone number (592) 622-0858.

For the year, 44 houses in Berbice have been completely destroyed by fire, and twelve persons have been rendered homeless. According to Sutton, many of those fires occurred on unoccupied buildings which owners had left unattended as they migrated. (G4)