Claxton Bay family homeless after fire

Just a week after losing his job at Weldfab Limited, a Claxton Bay man and his family lost their home in a fire on Wednesday.

Surlal Ramgoolie, 52, his wife Omatie and their son Sean Ramgoolie, 19 escaped death when their wooden and concrete home at Teak Avenue, caught fire shortly before midnight.

Their pet parrots and three caged bullfinches died in the blaze. Their dog nicknamed Puppy got severe burns to his face. 

Standing outside the ruins of the house, a distraught Omatie said she did not know how to move on.

She said her husband was already depressed having been laid off from Weldfab Limited.

He had worked at the company for more than 19 years and with the downturn of the economy and the shutdown of Petrotrin, there was no longer any work for him to do.

Omatie said she could not even think about Christmas preparations because she was worried about their future.

"We have no Christmas. I cannot even think about Christmas right now. I am thankful that all of us are safe but I don't know what to do now. We lost everything," she cried. 

Ramgoolie was not at home when the Guardian visited. He had gone to seek help with the hope that someone would offer him building materials to reconstruct the house.

Omatie said the fire may have started in the electrical panel box and ignited the bed where Sean slept.  Recalling the incident, Omatie said she was asleep with  Ramgoolie when Sean began screaming.

Ramgoolie ran upstairs and saw the bed and the wall near the panel box well alight. He tried to smother the fire on the bed using a blanket but it ignited further.

"All we could do was run out of the house and escape," she cried. They saved nothing from the house except their car.

The flames were so overpowering that they could not even rescue the trapped animals.

"One of the dogs ran out but the smaller one couldn't get out and he got burnt," Omatie said.

The house which she occupied with her family for 27 years on the periphery of the TCL cement factory was totally destroyed.

Saying she could not bear living anywhere else, Omatie begged the public to assist them in rebuilding the house. She said they lost all their documents, furniture, appliances and clothing. 

Lisa Roodal, Omatie's daughter said her brother and parents will be staying with her until they could rebuild the house.

She said they moved into the house when she was 12 and over the years they made little extensions.

"To see all our childhood memories wipes away in this house is very tragic," she cried.

Anyone wanting to assist the family can contact Omatie at 792-4297. 

- by Radhica De Silva. Photo by Rishi Ragoonath

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