It’s only been four days into the new year and fire officials have already responded to four fire reports, the first, a house fire in Potters Village which occurred on New Years Day.
The fire, which apparently started in a front bedroom of the wooden house, was reported to the fire department at about 17 minutes into the new year.
At the time of the incident, no one was at home. A crowd, some from the neighbourhood and others who were at nearby church services, converged on the scene as the fire truck’s siren pealed through the quiet community.
The female occupant, Sharon Hopkinson, was in Guyana welcoming in the New Year at a church service with family and friends when she received the tragic news.
According to her friend James King, who takes care of the property in her absence, “she burst into tears when I told her. She is devastated.”
King, a fireman of 28 years, told this newspaper he was at the house for some time on December 31 (2009) but left after the electricity went off at about 7 pm.
“Being a fireman with so many years experience, I turned off all the appliances and unplugged everything except the refrigerator, which was in the kitchen and I left and went home in Villa,” King said.
The man, who seemed very sad, said that Hopkinson moved into the house about six to eight months ago.
The owner of the property, Kelvin Bristol of Golden Grove, had just then completed renovations and leased the house to Hopkinson. Since the renovations, the property had not been insured.
Bristol arrived on the scene later that morning and was clearly hurt to see his property had been entirely destroyed.
The property owner’s family huddled close to him as he lamented, “What a distressing way to start the New Year.”
Meantime, both King and Hopkinson lost personal documents in the blaze.
“I took my handbag there with my documents and left it there that night. My passport, birth certificate, baptism paper and some other things, burned, all burned,” King said yesterday.
He said Hopkinson now plans to abandon her month long trip at her South American home to return to “pick up the pieces because she lost everything she had.”
“Up to last night (Saturday) I spoke to her an’ she was still so devastated. She has been crying every night, every day. I don’t know what else to say to her,” King added.
Fire officials said the cause of the fire is yet to be determined as investigations continue.
Since this incident, there was another fire in which an abandoned house in Urlings was destroyed.
The property owners, a husband and wife, are said to be deceased and the property had since been abandoned.
The other reports made to the fire department include a burning lamppost and a bush fire.
There were no reports of injuries in any of the incidents.