A fire suspected to be an act of arson completely destroyed a house at Lot 76 D’Urban Backlands in Georgetown on Sunday afternoon, consuming everything of value, including furnishings.The ruins of the house destroyed by fireThe fire reportedly started about 13:10h, and although firefighters arrived promptly on scene, they did not manage to stop the inferno.When Guyana Times arrived on the scene, the house was already reduced to ashes, but the embers were still engaging the attention of the firefighters, as shocked neighbours stood watching.The owner of the house, Kerwin Harris, 28, told this newspaper that he was in the backlands when he heard about the fire, and he rushed home to see what he could do, but was not able to save anything.Harris, whose house was located at the side of his father’s, said he had two females who lived with him in the house a while back, and about three weeks ago, one of them had attempted to burn the house down.The dumpsite worker said that on that occasion he had averted the fire when he realized that one of the two women had set a mattress ablaze in an attempt to burn down the house. That matter, according to him, was reported to the Police station in the area, and investigations thereof were still ongoing.“Me and some girl (two) went out before. I don’t have anybody around me now. They light afire the house from the king size mattress that was on the right side of the house,” he explained.Harris told Guyana Times he strongly believes the same women may be responsible for the fire, especially since the house was abandoned for some time, but contained furniture and equipment. He said the fire could not be electrical in origin as the house currently had no electricity.“Look now, is start over I got to start over all again. Is real pressure they put me in, budday. Coz you boy trying all the time, you boy is a hustler. It will be hard to start over, but I have to do what I could do,” he lamented while explaining that he worked hard to build his home.The man’s father, Wilfred Dick, also spoke with this newspaper. He recounted that he was taking a nap when his teenage son woke him and informed him about the blaze. By the time he had gone to see what was taking place, the fire had already spread to most of the wooden structure.He said, “All I could do was to wet my house until the firemen came.”Dick also told this newspaper that about three weeks ago, two young ladies with whom his son is associated attempted to light the house afire, and nobody was living in the home, because it had been abandoned for a while now.A neighbour who asked not to be named told this newspaper that Harris was living with his pregnant girlfriend a few houses away, and had abandoned his house. He allegedly had relationships with the two women who stayed at his house, and when his girlfriend found out, they had a huge fight.According to the neighbour, the women attempted to beat Harris’s pregnant girlfriend, and in the process attempted to burn Harris’s house down. Although he had managed to save it on the previous occasion, neighbours believe that the women may have found some way to get into the house and set it ablaze.While the firefighters were preparing to leave, Harris’s pregnant girlfriend was shouting and cursing at neighbours whom she might have suspected of also lighting the house on fire. The girlfriend (name unknown) ended up in a fist fight with a female neighbour who she also accused of setting the house on fire. The Police later intervened, arresting the two women and taking them to the Police station. It is not clear if the women were charged.The matter is now under full investigation by the Police and the Fire Service.
The Energy House was completed in April 2011 after construction began in November 2009, thanks to $7.8 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments. It was built to LEED Platinum standard, which is the highest in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building rating system, using “low-emitting materials” and mostly construction waste diverted from landfills. “Receiving LEED Platinum certification for Energy House is a very proud achievement for Northern Lights College,” says NLC’s Regional Facilities Manager Murray Armstrong. “Earning Platinum status involved the hard work of dozens of people at the College to create and execute the plan to build Energy House.” The multi-use facility produces all of its electricity and heating needs through a wind turbine, solar panels, biomass, and geo-exchange systems, among other features like a permanent carbon dioxide monitoring system and automatic lighting controls. The wastewater generated by the building has been reduced by 92 per cent, and a recycling system is in place. – Advertisement -“Platinum status is more than just building a good structure,” adds Armstrong. “It also involves changes and shifts to cultural norms around the College, such as having smoking areas a minimum 7.5 metres away from entrances, windows or air intakes, and includes such things as having designated car pool parking spots.” There are six categories evaluated when assessing a building’s process, and a minimum of 52 points is required for Platinum status. The Energy House received 56.Advertisement