WPA activist’s house gutted by fire

A fire has destroyed a house belonging to Working People’s Alliance (WPA) activist Jocelyn Dow and several businesses located at Charlotte Street, Bourda, Georgetown early Tuesday morning.

The blaze occurred about 05:20h. Dow, who occupied the top flat of the three-storey building, told Guyana Times that she was awakened by the fire alarm that

Businesswoman and political activist, Jocelyn Dow

went off sometime after 05:00h.

The political activist said when she heard the alarm, she went to the second floor of the building which housed her business, Hardwood Veneers (Guyana) Limited, and saw smoke coming from the flooring.

“I ran back to see if I can get my pets and I had my nephew and his son sleeping with me. It was full of smoke,” she recalled, stating that she was mainly concerned about getting everyone out. “I didn’t attempt to save anything.”

Dow said one of her cats perished in the fire and she could only account for two dogs. Two more were missing.

She expressed sadness over the fact that most of her work, mainly unique Guyanese furniture, paintings and artwork, was destroyed in the inferno. “I had great Guyanese art; the rest of things are replaceable, but those are not,” she

A section of the upper flat of the building that was destroyed by fire


Asked what may have led to the fire, the businesswoman told this publication that it most definitely had to start from the ground floor.

“It may be electrical in origin, maybe. I have no idea. Normally, we plug out the things in the bottom, but I looked for the main fuse, but I couldn’t find it because of the smoke,” she explained.

The bottom flat of the building housed four businesses: Trans Caribbean International Shipping, Anetha’s African Boutique, Target Services Pest Control, and the Westmas Acupuncture Clinic. And according to her, they all had different electricity sources.

Fire Chief Marlon Gentle told the media that although nearby residents fled their homes, firefighters managed to contain the blaze and prevent its spread to nearby buildings. Although electricity was disconnected from the building, fire officials complained about receiving electrical shocks. Gentle said an investigation would

be launched to determine what caused the fire.

Dow commended the Guyana Fire Service for its quick response. While she could

Most items were destroyed on the second floor of the building

not immediately estimate her losses, she said it could be to the tune of millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, the other business owners who arrived at the scene of the fire a few minutes later could not immediately say the extent to which the blaze affected their businesses, but told media operatives that many items were destroyed not only by the blaze, but by water.

The owner of Trans Caribbean Cargo International, Larry London described the incident as “terrible” and told the press that he would have to pick up the pieces and reconstruct his business. London said no one planned for the sudden fire, but they would all have to start planning to get their businesses back on track.

Another of Dow’s stores, Liana Cane Furniture Factory, at Victoria Road, Plaisance, East Coast Demerara was also destroyed by fire in January 2016. Dow said although she now has no fixed place of abode, she would be staying temporarily at a city hotel.