A fire of unknown origin has completely gutted a two-storey wooden structure at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara (ECD), on Sunday morning leaving one woman dead and several homeless.
The charred remains of 57-year-old Yowani Sasenarine, who occupied the upper flat of the Lot 564 Block 8 Mon Repos, ECD home were removed after the fire was extinguished. The woman suffered from a stroke and was unable to run to safety.
The top flat of the house was reportedly occupied by the now dead woman and one of her daughters, 25-year-old Caraline Sasenarine, while the bottom flat was occupied by another daughter, Karen Chung, and her husband, Joseph Pereira, along with their three children.
At the scene, the woman’s son-in-law, Joseph Pereira, said he was awoken by the screams from the deceased at around 2:10h and upon checking, he saw the entire upper flat of the house engulfed in flames.
He reportedly attempted to extinguish the fire and save the deceased but failed. He, nevertheless, managed to save his wife and three children who were in the lower flat. He was the last to see his mother-in-law since he made sure that she was in bed.
The woman’s younger daughter, Caraline, told Guyana Times that she left her mother sitting in a chair watching television around 1:00h.
She explained that she left home and went to a function at her brother’s residence in Better Hope, ECD, and on her way home in a taxi, she saw the flames and as she neared her street, realised it was her house.
“I had my food and was waiting to come home and eat with my mother,” a tearful Caraline said, explaining that when she arrived, she noticed her sister, brother-in-law and nieces were outside, but not her mother.
When she inquired, she was told by Pereira that he was not able to save her mother due to the intensity of the fire which had already spread to most parts of the top flat of the house.
Caraline said she burst into tears and started screaming because she could not come to grips with the fact that her mother was burnt alive. “I don’t care about the house, but my mother was in there,” she cried.
While neighbours recalled hearing the screams, most of them said by the time they ran outside, the fire had already swept through the entire house and there was no way it could have been saved.
Nevertheless, they alerted the police and the fire service. However, they complained that the fire service responded too late and could not have done anything to save the house from burning.
The police did state in its reports that two fire tenders were dispatched to the scene of the fire, one from the Campbellville and another from the Alberttown Fire Station.
Upon their arrival, they managed to extinguish the fire but the entire structure was engulfed in flames. The charred body of Sasenarine was discovered on the southern side of the house in the living area. The fire officials have launched an investigation to determine the cause and origin of the fire.
In the meantime, her daughters and other family members have found temporary homes. They were not able to salvage anything and remain without clothing and food. Anyone interested in making a donation to the family is asked to contact 234-1217.