Trapped father and two children die in Charlestown fire

Trapped father and two children die in Charlestown fire

Tragedy engulfed the Drysdale Street, Charlestown area this morning in a plume of thick smoke as a father and his two children perished in a fire at their home.

The dead man has been identified as 40-year-old Michael Richards. His two children who also died in the blaze were identified as 6-year-old Somaya Richards and 4-year-old Supreme Richards.

Investigators suspect they got trapped by the heavy grill work at the two storey house.

The Guyana Fire Service said it received its first report about the blaze at around 6:45 this morning and immediately dispatched fire response teams from five locations.

Divisional Officer for the Guyana Fire Service, Clive Mc Donald, said when Firemen arrived on the scene, the house was already engulfed in flames, which led to additional resources being deployed.

He said after learning that persons were trapped in the building, fire fighters attempted to get to them, but they were pushed back by the blaze that was ripping through the building.

He said that upon inspection of the building after the fire was extinguished, the bodies of the two young children were found in their bedroom, while their father’s body was found at the door of the lower flat of the house, which indicated that he was trying to exit the building, but did not make it out safely.

The Fire Officer said there were some initial difficulties accessing the building due the high concentration of smoke at the blaze from the Western side.

“The place was heavily grilled, and we had to use our cutting-in devices and we tried very hard to get into the building because we were told that persons were trapped inside and our first and foremost objective was to save the person,” the Fire Officer said.

The Fire Officer said while it is within the right of every person to grill their personal spaces for safety concerns, other concerns must also be taken into consideration. He cautioned against heavy grill work on houses.

“We would advice and inform persons of, especially dwellings of heavily grilling and you must have an evacuation plan to get out in the case of an emergency. So, we are doing our fire prevention by continuously informing persons about this,” the Fire Officer said.

A cause of the fire has not been determined, but the Fire Service said persons need to be reminded that they should install smoke detectors in their homes and also install fire safety equipment.

The Fire Service has also issued a warning against illegal electrical connections.

While the cause of the fire is being probed, family and friends of the Richards family remain in a state of shock and disbelief.

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