Three houses gutted by fire in Container City squatting area; Several left homeless

Three houses gutted by fire in Container City squatting area; Several left homeless

A mid-morning fire gutted three houses, leaving at least ten persons homeless and counting their losses.

It was just after 11 o’clock this morning that an alarm was raised that one of the wooden houses was on fire in the squatting area known as Container City, which is located behind the John Fernandes Container Terminal, off of Mandela Avenue in Georgetown.

The Fire Service initially responded with one fire tender from the West Ruimveldt station. Eventually two other fire engines joined the fire fight as the fire hopped between the houses.

Confused residents started a bucket brigade from a nearby canal before the Fire Service’s arrival. But their best efforts failed as the fire engulfed three houses.

It is suspected that the fire was started by a man of unsound mind who lived in one of the houses. Persons said the man would set wood on fire close to his wooden house whenever he cooks. They explained that just this past weekend, a fire was extinguished at the same house, and despite their warnings, the man was allowed to continue living in the property.

He has since been taken into custody in connection with this morning’s blaze.

One of the affected residents, Rawle Williams was at work nearby when he received news that his house was on fire. Still in his work gear, the man broke down in tears as he cried out that he just completed rebuilding his house after he was affected by a previous fire.

“This is the second time you boy facing this ma brother, only the other day I start rebuilding this house and now again, like I got to start again, and I want know who helping me to start over”, Williams cried out.

A senior Officer at the City Constabulary, Jane Boston, also cried out, as she rushed to the scene from her job to see that her entire home was gone.

The woman said she had repeatedly complained about the presence of the man who reportedly set the blaze, in the area.

She said she lost everything in the blaze, and was only left with the uniform that she was wearing.

Some of the residents in the area supported their neighbours by trying to save as many of their belongings as they could as the fire spread through the area. The Fire Service was eventually able to extinguish the blaze and save other houses in the squatting community.

One resident said it was only yesterday that Government Minister Kwame McKoy, visited the area with promises of ensuring an access road would be completed for the residents, while encouraging them to apply for house lots.

There have been efforts over the years, to get the residents to move from the area. However, those relocation plans all fell through.

At the scene today, Divisional Fire Officer, Clive McDonald, who is in charge of operations for Georgetown, said he was the first to arrive at the fire scene. He said the Fire Service faced some challenges but was eventually able to contain the blaze.

A full investigation is underway.

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