Carpenter perishes as fire rips through Enterprise houses
By Rupa Seenaraine
A carpenter tragically perished during the wee hours of Thursday as he was trapped inside his burning house even as he scrambled to break open the grille, which remained shut in the face of a fire that eventually destroyed two houses at Enterprise, East Coast Demerara.
That fire, which started at Lot 156 Market Street, Enterprise, took the life of Suresh Goolchand and completely destroyed two houses on the property, respectively occupied by Goolchand and his brother.
Reports are that an alarm was raised after 03:00h on Thursday, after neighbours heard a loud ‘knocking’ sound. Some awoke from their slumber to investigate, and were then horrified by the screams of the man as he tried to break free from the grilled house.
Sarita Ramdhani, who lives adjacent to the Goolchands, recalled seeing the smoke emanating from the house. After she realised what was happening, she went over and called out to the now dead man, and he responded.
Persons in the community tried to reach him, but within a short space of time, the wooden building was completely engulfed in fire, taking Suresh with it.
“I heard a noise like someone trying to break-and-enter. We get up and we tried looking to see if anybody tried breaking into our place. By the time I decided to look over there, all I could see was smoke coming up and the redness. I said it looked like fire at Suresh house, so we hustle to open we door and come down,” the woman related.
She added, “I watched, and all I could see is he holding on to the grille and shaking. That’s the noise we were hearing. I holler for Suresh, and he answered…I hustle to open the gate, and by then my neighbours come out. When we rush out, the fire already take him. All we hear is he screamed, and then the fire was all over. There was nothing we could do to assist him at the said time. It’s sad news.”
The woman said it took some time before the flames reached the other house, which was attached to the burning building by a verandah. Due to the intensity of the flames, they could not provide much assistance. Meanwhile, Suresh’s brother managed to remove two vehicles from the yard in time.
“If the fire wasn’t so big, maybe we would have been able to save him. The other brother opened the gate and hustle to get out the two cars that he does look after… We had to come out here and go on the road, because the heat was too much. We were scared because things started to go off,” Ramdhani shared.
She described Goolchand as having been a ‘good person’ in the community.
“He is not a bad person. He does go to work, come in and lock up. He was working every day. Yesterday was the last time I saw him, when he took out his car to go to work, and then he came home in the afternoon. He was a good person,” she declared.
The Guyana Fire Service, in a statement, related that it was made aware of the fire at about 03:40h, and a tender from the Melanie Fire Station was immediately dispatched to the location.
“An ambulance and crew as well as members of the Guyana Police Force also responded to the scene,” added the Fire Service.
An initial assessment indicated that, along with the building, two vehicles located on the western side of the building were severely damaged due to ‘radiated heat’.
A plea was made for citizens to have the necessary fire detection hardware installed in their homes in the event of such incidents, while also exercising caution when carryout out activities that could lead to fires.
“Once again, the GFS is urging citizens to equip their homes with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and to be careful when cooking or using electrical appliances”, the GFS statement said.
Hours after the incident, the Fire Prevention Unit was still on the scene, processing debris and dousing small pockets of fire. Investigations are continuing.