GFS cites lack of safety mechanisms, among others to save nationals in Alberttown fire

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SEE BELOW STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE GUYANA FIRE SERVICE (GFS)

The Guyana Fire Service would like to express sincere condolences to the families who lost their loved ones during a fire which occurred on July 29, 2021 at Lot 136, Fifth Street Alberttown, Georgetown.

In light of allegations posted in the Friday edition of the Stabroek Newspaper which claim that the Fire Service reported to the scene of the fire without the necessary tools and means to effectively extinguish the fire, the administration would like to refute these allegations and shed light on some of the challenges that contributed to firefighters not being able to save the lives of the women who perished in the fire.

The aftermath of the fire.

It is important to highlight the poor construction of the building which did not possess the necessary fire safety mechanisms.

There were no alternative methods of escape in the occurrence of a fire or any other emergency, as it was observed that there was only one way in and one way out of the four individual apartments.

It must also be noted that no smoke alarms nor fire extinguishers were provided for the tenants of these apartments.

On arrival the firefighters observed that the first floor of the building was engulfed in flames.

Furthermore, it was observed that the windows and single door to the apartments were heavily fortified, that is to say they were fully grilled, which hampered firefighters from gaining access to the apartment in a timely manner.

It should also be noted that the water tenders that responded to the scene were fully equipped with the necessary tools and accessories to address the issue of entry into the building.

These were effectively used to break the iron grill and wooden door to gain entrance.

It is standard practice that all dispatched firefighting vehicles be equipped with its full capacity of water to begin extinguishing activities.

On arrival at the scene senior officers are trained to determine the location of water outlets from water hydrants and nearby sources of water.

On this occasion there was never a shortage of water for firefighting as open sources of water were used to extinguish the blaze.

The Guyana Fire Service is in no way making excuses for the tragedy that occurred but seeks to clarify and educate the public on what transpired since the facts were misconstrued in the article written by Stabroek News.

Firefighters will be exposed to more advanced training both at the regional and international level so as to better serve citizens.

These and other initiatives like the decentralization of the Central Fire Station are all part of the modernization and development of the Guyana Fire Service.

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