Early morning Charlestown fire leaves four dead : –heavy grillwork made rescue difficult


FOUR persons, three of whom were children, perished in an early morning fire that destroyed the upper flat of their Drysdale Street, Charlestown, Georgetown home yesterday. The dead are Abiola Cort, 25; Justin Kellman, three; Kelisha Solomon, also three; and Akesha Cordis, one.

Cort’s cousin, Yolanda Cordis, 20, has been admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) suffering from severe burns.
Mr. Llewelyn Dick, who lives in the house behind the one that was burnt, said the fire started at approximately 07:40 hrs. He said his attention was drawn to the house after other neighbours started to shout and scream.

A group of neighbours then formed a bucket brigade and attempted to put out the fire, but it was difficult to control the blaze with only buckets of water.

Besides, the house appeared to have been heavily grilled, which, when coupled with the presence of fire and smoke, would have rendered it difficult for anyone to get in or out of the building.

Dick said he was made to understand that a group of police officers on patrol in the area summoned the Guyana Fire Service (GFS), who responded very quickly. He explained that the fire had started to spread to the buildings next door, but the GFS personnel were able to contain it to that one building, and even prevent it from spreading to the lower flat.

“This time they were really urgent, and they come equipped. And that saved the rest of buildings in the yard,” Dick said of the Guyana Fire Service.

Neighbours explained that Justin was Abiola’s son, while Kelisha and Akesha were Yolanda’s children.

Efforts were also made to speak with relatives and colleagues of the deceased, but they refused to divulge any information to reporters on the scene.

Fire Chief Marlon Gentle said the origin of the fire is as yet unknown, but investigations are in progress.