10 homeless in Sophia fire –police hunt jilted lover
Yonette Roberts points to what remains of the house in which  she and her family once lived
Yonette Roberts points to what remains of the house in which she and her family once lived

THE police are on the look-out for a man believed to be behind Saturday night’s fire in “A” Field, Sophia, that has rendered a family of 10 homeless.The suspect, Leon Turpin, is reportedly the jilted lover of the owner of the house, a wooden one-flat, 35 x 50 structure built on the government’s reserve and divided into four apartments.
Yonette Roberts, who owns the house and conceded that it was built on State land, said she has been living there for the past 15 years with her family.
The family at reference comprises six adults and four children; and now that they are homeless, she’s asking the government to provide her with a houselot, so they can start life anew.
Roberts conceded, too, that she and Turpin had been in a relationship, but that was a long time ago. She said she has every reason to believe he’s behind the fire, since he’s been threatening ever since they separated to burn the house down, but she had never taken him seriously.
“He got put out the place a very long while ago,” she said.

The heavy-duty skid-steer loader, which assisted in extracting the fire tender out of the ditch in ‘A’ Field Sophia, where the fire occurred

“We split up, but he would still be around the place molesting me; and so and I tell him that it can’t work after he keep begging,” she added.
The mother of four went on to explain, “When I was leaving Saturday night to go to the National Park, I saw that he was around. “And his words to me was, ‘Yuh gon see wha gon happen.’”

Roberts said she subsequently received a call around 23:00hrs while at the National Park, saying that her house was on fire.
By the time she got there, it was too late; the entire building was already gone. A neighbour later told her that it was Turpin who started the fire at the rear of the building, where her apartment was located.
“We lost millions of dollars in things; we have nothing now,” Roberts said.
Meanwhile, officer- in- charge of the fire service operations, Compton Sparman, said the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) received a call at 23:18hrs informing them about the fire.
A fire engine was dispatched from the Alberttown Station, and a larger one from Campbellville.
However, the latter got stuck in Section “A” Sophia, because a badly parked car caused it to almost end up in a nearby trench.
Fortunately, they were still able to use the water from the truck by trailing the hoses until they reached the fire.
Speaking of which, Sparman is calling on members of the public to be more responsible and cooperative with the Fire Service in light of what happened on Saturday night, whereby one errant driver prevented them from carrying out their duties as efficiently as they ought to.
Noting that the Fire Service is there to provide assistance to the public and clearance for fire trucks and ambulances are essential in executing such duties, Sparman said:
“Instead of us coming to save lives,” he said, “lives could have been taken, if the driver [of the fire tender] had to squeeze his way through the street, and could have tilted over, causing all the fire- fighters to suffer.”
He said that both fire tenders were depending on each other to relay water to the fire scene, something which was eventually done, although the truck was stuck in mud on the parapet of the roadway.
“We had to come with a larger vehicle with a large amount of water, because there are no hydrants in Sophia, and the drains were blocked up, “ Sparman said, adding:
“I want to plead with the members of the public for them to understand that they have to assist us in helping others.”
He thanked cooperative citizens for trying to assist the Guyana Fire Service with extracting the stuck fire tender that was left overnight in Sophia.
Meanwhile, anyone willing to assist the Roberts family may contact Yonette Roberts on 680-9752.


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