Fire of unknown origin early Saturday morning severely damaged a section of the Bartica Secondary School’s dormitory, but no one was injured and all of the students were accounted for, according to Region Seven Chairman Gordon Bradford.
“I was talking to one of the guys and he said he heard a crackling sound and he was awakened by sounds that he thought were gunshot; that’s when the windows started to pop and then he ran outside and they raised an alarm,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
He said the fire occurred shortly before 2 AM in an occupied section of the building where more than 100 spring-filled mattresses were being stored.
Bradford said an assessment was being conducted to determine whether students would have to be relocated to another section of the building that was not affected by smoke.
He noted that this was the second fire at the dormitory in three years; the first resulting in severe damage to the building. The dormitory was reconstructed.
Fire Chief Marlon Gentle told Demerara Waves Online News that investigators were later Saturday still trying to determine the cause of the blaze that caused “structural damage to the two rooms.”
He commended off-duty and on-duty firefighters who responded to the fire call and shuttled water to the scene because potable water supply was not on at that time. “Under the circumstances that was a damn good job,” he said.