Sophia businessman suffers millions in losses after fire

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A Sophia homeowner wants the Guyana Fire Service to accept some blame for a fire that completely gutted his 455 ‘B’ Field apartment building on Sunday.

Businessman Sean Gittens told the News Room on Monday during an interview at the ruins of his property that he was not satisfied with the response of the Guyana Fire Service.

Gittens was aggrieved that a building that took him more than a decade and $30M to build went up in flames within hours. He said he was not on the premises when the fire started, reportedly in an empty room in the back of the 8-apartment building.

But Gittens is convinced that a little more coordination in the fire service’s response could have saved more than 50% of the building.

“I struggle to build this place and then less than two hours this place damage. It’s a real shame. If the fire people had a proper system, I tell you again… If them guys had reached early enough and do the right stuff everything would not have gone up in flames,” the businessman said.

Gittens said he was on site for almost an hour helping tenants to remove items from their apartments when the fire was just a small blaze bellowing from the back of the building.

He is taken aback by how swiftly it engulfed the property, leaving only the concrete exterior standing. But he is convinced that more help could have been rendered from the fire service.

Gittens’ neighbour, Julian Collins suffered damages to the eastern side of his building but he is not in total agreement with placing blame on the firemen.

Sean Gittens

In fact, Collins said he is quite satisfied with the response of the fire service which ensured that minimal damage was done to his property.

“They were quick because if they weren’t quick both houses would have gone down. I was at work but when I got here I was told the fire wheel was quick… I am thankful that the fire wheel came very quick,” Collins related.

He estimates the damages done to his property to be just below one million dollars.

Meanwhile, over at Gittens’ fire-ravaged property, he also complained that the fire service had not visited the scene since they left on Sunday to carry out any investigation.

He remains at a loss when asked if he had any knowledge of how the fire started.

“They ain’t even reach here as yet to know how the fire started. They supposed to done come and tell me what happen but nobody ain’t reach here… but I can only tell you that the fire started in the back. The whole building gone down and left stranded,” he said.

Gittens said about 12 persons who lived in the building are now misplaced by the fire which started around noon on Sunday, including two of his sons.

He is now contemplating his rebuilding efforts, but according to his calculations, it will be a while before he is able to return the structure to its former glory.

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