Fire victim dies of heart attack, family forced to live in ruins of burnt home

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By Bibi Khatoon

A Non-Pariel, East Coast Demerara family lost everything in a fire, which not only destroyed their home but their businesses as well. And while they grappled with this loss, they were not prepared to deal with the death of their breadwinner – Hanuman Singh, 57.

Immediately after the fire on Friday last, the businessman suffered a heart attack and was a patient at the Georgetown Public Hospital when he died on Sunday.

Dead: Hanuman Singh

He left his wife and three daughters in immense pain and suffering. They now live in what is left of the ruined wooden and concrete two-storey house in the lower flat – sleeping on mattresses that were donated by neighbours and cooking on a makeshift fireside.

But the women are fearful that the shed will cave in on them since it was also burnt.

The makeshift fireside inside the ruined house

Reshma Singh, one of the man’s daughters told News Room that the family was at their Enterprise business where they manage a bar when they got the call that the Non-Pariel home was on fire.

By the time they arrived at the home, the only thing they managed to save was a minibus, which they used later that night to sleep in.

The family is slated to collect their business license in a few weeks for the Non Pariel location, where they had plans to operate a grocery store, ice cream parlour and a bar.

The space was already equipped all amenities needed to open the business.

Mattresses, pillows, sheets and chairs donated by neighbours

“Everything was finished building…it is newly built,” the tearful woman said as she struggled to put a cost to the damages.

She recalled that her father and mother have always been building as they made the money so that one day they can work from home.

Meanwhile, her mother, Nalini Singh also fainted repeatedly as she watched her home for over 20 years go up in flames.

On the night of the incident, Reshma said her father was the first to arrive at the scene but it was until the large crowd had dispersed that the family realized he was missing.

The following day, the man’s brother received a call that someone was found at the Botanical Gardens. With no explanation of how he got there, the family rushed to the Gardens where they were told that he was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital.

At the hospital, the doctors told the family that the man suffered from shock and was on life support. He subsequently passed away on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re just starting to organize for the funeral. We don’t know what to do next,” Reshma said.

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