‘I don’t know where to go from here’ – Camp street fire victim


By Shikema Dey 


Single mother Ashanna Moffat stood among rubble on Wednesday morning watching men cart off charred remnants of her house on Camp and Charlotte Streets after a fire Tuesday night destroyed what she once called home.

The fire is suspected to be an act of arson and now four people are homeless. It was a wooden and zinc building that housed several make-shift houses.

“I am frustrated and I ain’t sleep…I don’t know where I go from here, I don’t know,” the distraught woman told the News Room.

The single mother of two recalled that she was sitting in her shop at the front of the house, mere moments to the 9’o clock hour when she observed a neighbour only known as “Ryno” pass several times, carrying his belongings.

The building on fire

She paid no mind to it until moments later when he disappeared, another neighbour shouted “fire.”

“When I run in the yard, the fire is up in the air, in the complete building,” she recounted.

“I felt for my house keys and I could not find it, so I ran out and everybody who was in the yard, ran out after.

“Just seconds later, I heard a boom, like a gas bottle explode and I knew that I could not save anything so is everything I lose, everything, me documents…passport, land documents and everything I buy to make me and my children comfortable hay.”

According to her, at the time of the fire, at least 10 others were in the yard at the time; her children were not at home.

Ashanna Moffat picks up a burnt piece of clothing where her house once stood (Photo: News Room/October 13, 2021)

The distraught woman also told the News Room that she had no qualms with the arson suspect “Ryno” but shared that he clashed with other neighbours in the yard before.

She could not find any possible reason why anyone would want to set the houses on fire.

Joann Bynoe was the neighbour who alerted Moffat to the fire. She also lost everything; she said she standing at her door, engaged in a conversation when her companion saw flames next door.

Joann Bynoe

“He said ‘look fire’ and I said man, you mekking joke but when I run out to check, I see the whole place in fire and I run and called Ashanna.

“By that time, everything start bun so everything gone for me too, nothing ain’t save so I don’t know what I am gonna do,” Bynoe stated.

Satisfied with response of fire service

Chief Fire Officer (ag) Gregory Wickham was at the scene of the fire, assisting with the investigations on Tuesday night.

When asked whether he was satisfied with the response by the fire service the Chief Fire Officer responded “absolutely.”

Chief Fire Officer (ag) Gregory Wickham speaking to reporters at the fire scene (Photo: News Room/October 13, 2021)

He told reporters that three fire tenders responded immediately to the report and kicked into action, performing a “water relay” to surround the fire and cut it off, preventing it from spreading to buildings in close proximity.

“I am very very satisfied with the response, with the firefighting procedures and processes they employed,” he said.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn who was also at the scene of the fire, praised the work of the Guyana Fire Service in containing the blaze.

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