Millions of dollars in belongings went up in flames yesterday when a fire of an
unknown origin destroyed a six-bedroom two-storey residence at L27 1021 Latchmansingh Street, Tucville, a little after 16:00hrs .
The property belonged to Simone Beckles, a senior manager of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), whose 16-year-old son, Shaquille Munroe, was the only occupant at the time. The young man was asleep in his bedroom, but was awakened by stifling smoke and intense heat from flames that quickly engulfed the building after he narrowly escaped.
Firefighters, with the use of water from a tiny gutter nearby, were able to contain the blaze to the solitary building, although another house to its west was slightly damaged.
Young Munroe, dressed only in boxer shorts, said that he was resting in his bedroom when smoke began to fill the surroundings. After making checks, he said he noticed that the smoke was coming from the front bedroom, the one which his mother occupied.
The teen said he then began to call out for his neighbours before dashing for safety.
One neighbour, Christopher Munroe, who lives to the north of the burnt-out
building, said he was in his home reading newspapers when he heard breaking noises.
“I was looking at some papers when I hear like glass breaking next door… like somebody breaking up a car windscreen. I thought was a quarrel or a row, but then I hear loud talking and when I pull the blind I see smoke coming from the front room.”
Christopher Munroe said that within minutes the whole house was in flames. The neighbour recalled that persons began to call out for the boy (Shaquille Munroe) inside the house, but they got no answer. He said that neighbours became confused and frightened since they could not locate the teen. It was not until numerous calls were made for the young man that he emerged from the house, some five to six minutes after the smoke was seen emanating from the building.
Another neighbour, Lennox Robertson, whose house suffered damage from the heat, said he was alerted by Shaquille Munroe that his home was on fire. The man said he was sitting in the bottom flat of his house when the teenager came over. Robertson said he quickly summoned the fire service who responded approximately 20 minutes later.
Robertson said he along with other males in his company contemplated entering
the house to see what they could have salvaged, but the fire developed so quickly that it would have been an exercise in futility. He opined that the teen made it out of the house in the nick of time. All the windows on the side of Robertson’s house facing the burnt building were broken as a result of the heat while the paint work was also affected.
Shortly before the fire was extinguished, the owner of the home, Simone Beckles, was seen heading towards her neighbour’s residence. While being comforted by the gentleman, a tearful Beckles lamented that “my whole life’s work has gone up in flames.” A number of GRA employees were also present.
Shaquille Munroe said that to his knowledge everything in the house was turned off, except for a fan that he was using in his room. The teen said that it was a shock to witness the devastation. Fire officials are investigating.