Elderly couple homeless following fire, arson suspected

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By Royan Abrams

An elderly couple is now homeless following a fire at their lot 135 ‘A’ Mibicuri South Black Bush Polder home on Saturday, October 21, 2017, suspected to be the work of an arsonist.

News Room understands that the couple operated a grocery shop underneath the three-bedroom wooden and concrete structure; they were not at home when the fire started just after 08:00hrs.

Marvin Duncan

Marvin Duncan, 78, told the News Room that he and his wife, 65-year-old, Claudette Duncan, were on their way to the Port Mourant Market to purchase grocery for their shop when they received a telephone call from a nephew that the house was on fire.

According to Marvin, he immediately attempted to make contact with the fire service but encountered difficulties so he decided to visit the Whim Police Station and the ranks there made contact with the Guyana Fire Service in Rose Hall Town.

The Rice Farmer said he was told that the fire tenders there had mechanical problems and as such, the Corriverton Fire Service was contacted but by the time they arrived at the scene, the house was already destroyed by the blaze but the concrete section remained intact.

Marvin believes that the fire was the work of an arsonist and he suspects a resident in the area with whom he recently had a misunderstanding. He told News Room that the man made several threats to him prior to the fire.

According to the elderly man, the suspect was once a member of the feared and deadly ‘phantom squad’ and had previously resided in Buxton, East Coast Demerara.

According to Marvin, things became sour between him and the suspect after he confronted the man about selling drugs in the community and being a bad influence to the youths in the area.

What’s left of the Duncan’s residence

“We didn’t cook this morning, not to say we left the stove on, we said we were gonna buy things to eat on the road and come home back,” Marvin told News Room.

When the News Room arrived on the scene, neighbours had already begun using a water pump and hose to put out the blaze while awaiting the fire tender which arrived almost an hour later. Marvin has estimated over $7M in losses.

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