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Update: Trio, who perished in Charlestown fire, identified; five others homeless

Last Updated on Friday, 30 June 2023, 15:59 by Denis Chabrol

Inside the burnt house on Drysdale Street where three persons were burnt to death.

Three persons were Friday morning burnt to death and five others rendered homeless in a fire on Drysdale Street, Georgetown, Fire Chief Gregory Wickham said.

Ryan Greenidge identified those who perished as Michael Richards, 40, Supreme Richards and Samye Richards. The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) confirmed that one of the children was 6 years old and the other four years.

Mr Wickham said fire fighters subsequently retrieved the bodies of an adult and two children.

Neighbours said the man was outside, entered the building while the fire was in its early stages. “What I heard is that he was asking for help. I don’t know what happened… if they couldn’t have gotten into the yard because of  the dogs that they have but this is it,” Mr Greenidge said.

At approximately 6:45 a.m. this morning, the GFS said, a report was received alerting to a fire at Lot 8 Drysdale Street, Charlestown, Georgetown.

Among the five occupants of the top flat was 18-year old Melicia Allicock who told reporters that all of her toddler’s belongings were destroyed by fire as she barely grabbed him and ran out of the building. “It (fire) come up from me bed and when I see it lodged on my mattress , I just grabbed my son and ran out,” she said.

Melicia Allicock who ran out of the burning building with her baby son.

Fire Service Divisional Officer Mc Donald said the body of the man was found near a door and the bodies of the children were in a bedroom,  after fire fighters cut the heavily grilled lower flat. “We tried very hard to get into the building because we were informed that persons were trapped so our foremost objective was to save the persons,” he said.

Neighbour, Rachael Haynes,21, said the fire started downstairs in the kitchen area.

Three water tenders, one water carrier, two ambulances and a hydraulic platform from Central, Alberttown, Campbellville, West Ruimveldt, and Fire Service Headquarters, respectively, were immediately dispatched to the location, the GFS said.

The first appliance arrived on scene at 6:48 a.m. and firefighting operations began at approximately 6:50 a.m, the fire service added.

The structure involved was a two-storey wooden and concrete building which was severely damaged by the time the fire was extinguished. 

The GFS said investigations are being carried out to determine what caused the blaze.

The Guyana Fire Service is reminding citizens to exercise caution and follow safety measures to avoid home fires.

Homes should be equipped with fire prevention and firefighting devices such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or buckets of sand, which will aid in alerting people to a fire and putting it out quickly.

Citizens are urged to desist from using illegal electrical connections, which pose many hazards in the home and are a leading cause of electrical fires.

Additionally, while grill work provides homes and businesses with security, it is advised that there be an evacuation plan in place or a clear form of exit to be used in the event of a fire or emergency.

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June 2023