NA woman dies in early morning fire


A fire at St. Magdalene Street, New Amsterdam, Berbice, early on Saturday claimed the life of 58-year-old Sharon Austin.

She lived in the upper flat of a two-storey wooden house she shared with her daughter and grandchildren.

Her daughter, Brenda Johnson, told reporters that the fire started at approximately 04:15 hrs; Johnson was sleeping in the bottom flat of the building with her two sons while her daughters, 14 and 7, were in the upper flat sleeping with Austin.

Johnson said she heard loud sounds upstairs and thought it was bandits; her son, 17, ran upstairs but then realised it was his sisters trying to open the door.

The upper flat of the house was destroyed

“The two girls were hustling to open the door and my small daughter say ‘fire! fire!’

“My son was hustling to pull the girls out…” she said.

The boy took his sisters to safety and by the time he returned to save his grandmother, the fire had already consumed the entire house and blocked the front door.

Johnson said her mother collapsed near the exit and her son could not get in to save her.

“By the time my son run back to save mommy, the fire was too much for him to get to her…” a distraught Johnson said.

She added that her seven-year-old daughter relayed to her that she was sleeping with her grandmother when she began feeling extremely hot. She said she woke up and saw the fire coming from the clothes hanger area and that’s when they all tried to escape with her grandmother just behind.

The house following the fire

By that time, neighbours summoned the fire service and Johnson said she called the Central Police Station operations room.

She said the fire service took some time to arrive even though they are located a mere two minutes away. She is of the opinion that if they arrived earlier more could have been saved.

Johnson said her mother was her everything and while she is grateful that her children are alive, the tragic loss of her mom has left her devastated.

An investigation into the fire has since been launched.

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1 Comment
  1. Patricia Pierre says

    This incident is a horrific and traumatic experience foot the Johnson family. I sympathize with them as it reminds me of my own feelings when my mother died. No amount of words can console that family having to suffer the loss of a loved one and to be without a roof over their heads.b May they get the assistance that they deserve at this time

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