Millions lost after fire guts guest house in Skeldon

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The proprietors of the nine-bedroom guesthouse in Skeldon, Upper Corentyne, Berbice are still counting their losses following an early Saturday morning fire that ravaged the building.

Swarendra Sukhpaul, a businessman from Linepath, Upper Corentyne, told the News Room that he could not say how much he has lost but he emphasised that it was in the millions of dollars.

Sukhpaul disclosed that he was at home when he received a telephone call at approximately 02:55hrs that smoke was seen emanating from the guesthouse known as the ‘Embassy Building.’ He immediately contacted the fire service which is located just a few minutes away and he subsequently made his way to the scene.

According to Sukhpaul, initially, the fire was ‘small’ but by the time firefighters arrived at the scene, the entire building was engulfed and the fire service had difficulties sourcing water.

“When they came, they did a good job at trying to out it but…the fire truck only had like 400 gallons of water, but they had to make like five trips to bring back water but by time that, the fire destroy the entire building,” the distraught businessman said.

The remains of the ‘Embassy Building’ following the fire

There was no one in the building at the time of the fire, and so, the businessman believes that it was electrical in nature given the unstable electricity from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Company.

“A lot of people complaining about this on and off current.”

Sukhpaul disclosed that the building, which comprises nine rooms in the upper flat, a restaurant, and a bar in the bottom flat, is rented to persons who travel from neighbouring Suriname or anyone who wants a place to stay for a short time.

The businessman stated that in 1997, the building was owned by someone else and fire had destroyed it then. After it was rebuilt, he bought it in 2012 and transformed it into a successful business venture.

Meanwhile, President of the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce, Hemchand Jaichand blazed the fire service and expressed his disappointment in their response.

He noted that if the firefighters did not make several trips back and forth to access water, most of the building could have been saved. Jaichand, at a recent meeting with the Finance Minister in Skeldon, made a plea for fire hydrants in the same area.

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