Early Sunday morning fire destroys home of Reg 6 REO

An early morning fire of unknown origin on Sunday completely gutted the home of Region Six Regional Executive Officer (REO) Navindra Persaud.
The wooden structure, located at Strand and King Streets, New Amsterdam, is owned by the Regional Democratic Council and was occupied by the REO and family.

Firefighters containing the blaze

Reports are that the fire started in one of the bedrooms and engulfed the entire building. At the time of the inferno, no one was at home. Police Commander Shivpersaud Bacchus, who lives next door, recalled seeing smoke emanating from the building and immediately raising an alarm.
Initially, he had difficulties getting on to the Fire Station in New Amsterdam and as such, contacted external authorities who used their internal communication system to get on to the local Fire Department.
The guard who was on duty at the time of the fire stated that he did not know the emergency number for the Fire Department and as such, he contacted the REO, who was at the time at his private residence in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
Early responders explained that after the firemen took a long time to arrive at the scene, they organised themselves and went into action.
They were forced to break the window of a vehicle that was on the property and push it out of the yard.

The house after the fire was extinguished

Persaud, who arrived on the scene after the fire was extinguished, explained that despite the building being owned by the Government, he has suffered enormous losses.
The REO told Guyana Times that he left home at about 9:30h on Saturday to travel to his personal home to spend some time. However, he received a telephone call from the security officer on Sunday informing him that the house was on fire.
“The building is a Government building but everything that was inside was owned by me including the stove, music set… The only thing they had was a sofa but every other thing was mine. I brought all my things from Georgetown,” the REO noted.
He said it was too early for him to estimate his loses.
“I can tell you that it is a lot because all my children have computers, laptops and other gadgets; they have quite a lot of gadgets, I can’t put a price on it and my wife’s jewellery.”
Persaud recalled that about two weeks ago, he was experiencing a voltage fluctuation and immediately made a complaint to Guyana Power and Light (GPL). The team along with the electricians from the RDC rectified the issue.
“They came and tightened some stuff but I am not too certain if that could have triggered anything,” he said.
Meanwhile, Region Six Chairman David Armogan told this publication that he received reports of the fire and was informed that the firefighters took quite some time to arrive at the scene.

“But I am not so sure that they would have been able to save anything because the house was engulfed so quickly that would have made it difficult. I am really sorry that the REO would have lost a lot of his personal possession.”
Armogan said the REO would have used the long weekend to visit his private home and see his mother.
Divisional Fire Officer Clive McDonald said the call was received at 7:45h at the operations room of the New Amsterdam Fire Service and within a few minutes two units were dispatched to the area.
He said when the firefighters arrived the entire building was engulfed in flames.
“We immediately went into action to stop and suppress the spread of the fire. Subsequently, another vehicle was dispatched, that is the bowser that carries 3000 over gallons of water, and firefighting activity commenced.”
McDonald said initial investigations indicate that the fire was initially seen sometime between 7:20 -7:30h but the Fire Department received the call at 7:45h.
A probe has been launched into the origin of the fire. Meanwhile, the REO said alternative living arrangements will be made since he does not want his children to miss school. (Andrew Carmichael)