Bedridden pensioner dies after Sophia fire

Relatives of a bed-ridden 74-year-old woman believe she died from smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in their neighbours’ yard, destroying several living quarters and leaving over 20 persons homeless.
Dead is Vanci Hodge of Lot 7 Lamaha Park Squatting Area, Greater Georgetown.
Her husband of 17 years, Leon James, told Guyana Times that a fire broke out in their neighbour’s yard sometime between 09:00h and 10:00h on Wednesday, and shortly after, they brought out his wife from her room, which was next to the burning house.

Dead: Vanci Hodge

“When I look over in the neighbour yard, I saw fire coming through the roof and everybody screaming and shouting… The fire started to spread [on the building close to us] and the smoke started to come over, so I lift my wife [off the bed] and bring her outside,” he recalled.
At the time, he said the woman was having a hard time breathing, so they rushed her to the hospital. Another relative said she died on the way to the hospital.
Hodge has been bed-ridden since late last year after she was diagnosed with cancer that has spread throughout her body.
“Apparently the smoke suffocated her, that’s my assumption… She was in bed since October last year and she couldn’t do anything for she self… We were trying with her but eventually this fire came on this morning and that was the end of her. I guess she would have been here for some more time, if wasn’t for the fire,” the grieving man related.
James said the fire scorched their outer walls and broken the glass of several windows.
Meanwhile at the Lot 6 Lamaha Park residence, where 15 adults and seven children – all related – were living in several apartments, occupants say the fire was reportedly started in one of the apartments, where a kerosene stove was left on.

The remnants of the premises at the Lamaha Park squatting area after Wednesday morning fire

Moses, one of the occupants who was home at the time when the fire broke out, said they tried to break open the door to that home to put out the blaze and stop it from spreading, but were unable to do so. Within minutes, he noted that the blaze had engulfed most of the wooden structures in the yard.
“It started in the back room, but the fire run to the other rooms and my other family things them get [burn up]… The fire wuk out everything. It even spread to the next-door neighbours and we try to out off these houses before they catch too,” the man related.
The only building in the yard that was spared by the inferno was a shop which Moses operates at the front of the yard.
Olivia Griffith, a single mother of two, told this publication that she was at the clinic with her four-month-old baby when she received a call about the fire.
“When I come back with the car, we saw the entire place on fire. Everything burn up. Nobody ain’t get to save anything. It was shocking to me, because I gone out thinking my place safe,” the woman said.
Griffith, who operates a vending stand outside her home to maintain her family, said all of the items along with their children’s belongings were destroyed in the blaze. Now, she is pleading with members of the public for assistance.
“I would glad for lil’ help from anybody… I don’t know where I starting from, but I have to start over. So I’m asking anybody that’s out there that is willing to help me, please help,” the distraught woman said.
Another occupant, Zonobia Whyte, who also lost all her belongings and life savings, is also asking for assistance. She was at work when she received the dreaded call from her mother, informing her that their house was on fire.
“It was shocking to me and at first, I didn’t believe it, but after she told me that everything burn flat I started to cry… When I come home, I reach a house with nothing – all documents, savings that I had to do important things – everything was burnt to ashes… I gotta start all over again and I would really appreciate if anyone could help,” Whyte requested. (G8)