Mahdia fire tragedy: Fire fighters faced crippling water shortage

Last Updated on Monday, 22 May 2023, 7:18 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana Fire Service bowser in Lethem assisting with road cleaning for Independence Flag Raising.

Guyana Fire Service (GFS) fire fighters did not have sufficient water to fight the early Monday morning fire at the heavily grilled dormitory of the Mahdia Secondary School that claimed the lives of at least 20 students, sources said.

Sources said the bowser, which carries 2,500 gallons of water, was last week Wednesday sent to Lethem to assist with preparations for the National Independence Flag Raising Ceremony on May 25.

“The bowser carries more than five times the amount of water that a fire tender carries,” a source told Demerara Waves Online News. The fire tender has a capacity of 430 gallons of water.

GFS sources said another bowser is not working for the past two months and is laid up at the Melanie Fire Station awaiting a turbo charger.

With the departure of the bowser from Mahdia, that town now has one fire fighting appliance. However, Lethem now has three with the addition of the bowser.

The Lethem Town Council on Saturday, May 20, 2023 posted a picture showing the bowser assisting with the cleaning of a road in that southern Guyana town.

The Guyana government earlier Monday confirmed that at least 20 children died and seven others were badly injured in the fire of so far unknown origin.  It is not year clear whether the children were locked inside the heavily grilled dormitory.