Bush Lot Fire: Ranks response being investigated, defaulters will be sanctioned – Fire Chief

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Following concerns about the Guyana Fire Service’s response to the fire at Bush Lot, Berbice which claimed the life of a man and destroyed three buildings, Fire Chief (ag) Gregory Wickham on Wednesday said an investigation was launched and upon completion, defaulters will be sanctioned.

“It has been brought to the Service’s attention that ranks acted in an unprofessional manner during a major firefighting operation at Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice on Monday.

“An investigation into the matter has been launched, and once completed, defaulters will be sanctioned accordingly,” Wickham said in a press statement issued by the Fire Service on Wednesday.

According to the statement, Wickham condemns any act of “delinquency” or “unprofessional behavior” by rank attached to the Fire Service.

“The Guyana Fire Service is committed to protecting property and lives from fire and offering a service with confidence to all who require it.

Fire Chief (ag), Gregory Wickham

“We will continue to ensure our ranks reflect this commitment and uphold the highest standards of professionalism,” Wickham noted in the statement.

Three buildings, which housed several businesses including an insurance company were, destroyed in the inferno which started at about 17:45 hrs on Monday at Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice.

Carl Persaud, who lived alone in the upper flat of one of the buildings perished.

Residents saw Persaud hand outstretched through a bedroom window as the fire spread throughout the upper flat of the house.

A second building which was owned by Ruth Persaud, an overseas-based Guyanese. The upper flat was vacant but the lower flat housed the Medical Aid Pharmacy, owned by 38-year-old Rochelle Cheefoon, and Ramesh’s Jewelry, owned by 46-year-old Ramesh Persaud.

The third building, which was partially destroyed, is owned by Sundnrada Jagmohan, a 46-year-old Guyanese teacher residing at Bush Lot Public Road, WCB. This building housed two businesses on the lower flat while the upper flat was partly burnt.

Firefighters from the Onverwagt Fire Station arrived shortly after the blaze began and were subsequently joined by others from the Mahaica Fire Station, New Amsterdam Fire Station and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) fire department.

By the time the fire was extinguished, however, the properties were completely gutted and the other damaged.

The Fire Service, specifically the response of firefighters, were scrutinized by residents.

There were reports that though the Fire Service arrived at the scene, they were unable to get into action since they had to source water which took more than 30 minutes.

Other complains surrounding the equipment used in the operation, especially the hoses which residents said had holes.

The cause of the fire it yet to be determined.

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