Trapped woman perishes in Little Diamond fire

– neighbours say “fire was too much” to rescue her

A young woman was burnt to death on Thursday after she was trapped in her bedroom while her Little Diamond, East Bank Demerara house was ravaged by an early morning fire.

Dead Krystle Chung

The dead woman has been identified as 26-year-old Krystle Chung of Lot 8 Little Diamond Public Road, EBD. The fire reportedly started at some time before 06:00h on the day in question. Based on reports received, the fire might have started in the now dead woman’s bedroom in the upper flat of the two-storey wooden and concrete structure.
“This morning, morning we heard a racket around something to six. So, my husband open the door and go out and then come say, ‘Aunty Molly house in fire.’ When I look out, I saw black smoke coming from the top at the roof, through the zinc, and then couple minutes after, we started seeing fire coming through the windows and the window glass started breaking and stuff,” Kishanti, a neighbour, told Guyana Times.
At the time, persons had already started to gather at the scene. This newspaper understands that the now dead woman; her parents, Ronald Chung and Camille Liladri, called “Molly”, and younger sister Ariane, were asleep in the top flat of the house, while a male tenant was in the bottom flat. The occupants were reportedly alerted by passersby who noticed smoke emanating from the building.
Another neighbour, Viola Patterson, related that she was not at home at the time of the fire, but was informed by a cousin, who was passing at the same time, about what transpired.

Chung’s distraught mother and sister being
comforted by family members

“They saw smoke and then they noticed a garbage truck stopped and the men ran inside the yard. That’s when they realised that a house was on fire and they hurriedly get to the scene. They said the garbage collector… and he banged on the doors until he got the attention of the [father]. The man came down and the place was already filled with smoke, but he keep running up and down the steps. Only three of them came out… the older daughter was trapped in the bedroom,” the woman related.
Patterson said that the family would usually lock the doors of their bedrooms and, “I don’t know if it was the smoke or fire, or what, trapped the door and it just wasn’t opening… So, she burnt to death.”
Guyana Times was told that the fire started at the front of the house, and it is suspected it either started in the young woman’s room, which was the first room on the right side of the house, or just outside her room.
Meanwhile, another neighbour, Navin, who had rushed to the family’s assistance, told reporters that their efforts to rescue the trapped woman proved futile.
“We couldn’t get to tek she out of there at all… We couldn’t get to do nothing. The fire been too much. The fire like it start from she room, and we go to her assistance but we couldn’t get to do nothing,” he recalled.
According to the neighbour, even the Fire Service also “did their best”.
“Them come quick and them man do them job with whatever they coulda do, but the house get in flames too quick. Them fireman try them best, but they couldn’t do nothing,” the man related.

The destroyed house on the Little Diamond Public Road

After fire fighters had managed to put out the blaze, the upper half of the 26-year-old woman’s burnt body was seen hanging from the front-right side of the house where the walls had collapsed. Chung’s charred remains were subsequently removed by undertakers, as distraught family members along with others watched helplessly. The surviving family members only sustained minor burns about their bodies.

Undertakers taking away the young woman’s charred remains

Investigations are being conducted to determine the cause of the fire. However, one neighbour recounted that Chung’s mother had said she woke up about 03:00h to use the washroom and the house was heated but nothing else was amiss, so she went back to bed.
This is the second fatal fire since the year started. Only last Thursday, a 90-year-old man, Rupert Mc Lean Williams, perished in an early morning fire in the Diamond Housing Scheme, EBD.