GEORGETOWN, Guyana (Sept 18, 2017) – A 77-year-old businessman died Monday after fire engulfed his home on Main Street in the capital, a few yards away from the official residence of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.
Police confirmed that the body of popular businessman Yussuf Sankar was found in the building. They said that while a female caretaker had been able to escape the inferno, Sankar could not be accounted for as firefighters battled the blaze that began around 6.00 am (local time). Sankar had recently completed a surgery and was at home recuperating.
Riyadh Sankar, according to the Stabroek News, confirmed that his father perished in the fire that ripped through the three-storey building at Lot 51 Main Street, which also housed two businesses on the first floor.
The ground floor housed Risan’s and Jarrod’s photocopy and photography centres, which were both destroyed.
Riyadh, who lives abroad, was reported as telling the Stabroek News that the fire started around 5.30am, although Fire Chief Marlon Gentle related that a call was made to the Guyana Fire Service at 6.01am. Five fire tenders and an ambulance were sent to the scene.
Riyadh, according to the Stabroek News report, explained that he and other family members returned home from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), to find the house on fire and there were no signs of the senior Sankar.
The family was forced to stand and watch as the fire destroyed the building. “We were actually out and when we came back more than half of the house was ablaze. We tried to get the vehicles out,” Riyadh explained, while pointing out that at the time of the fire, his father and his caretaker, Claire Xavier, who has been working with the family for some 37 years, were home alone.
According to Riyadh, his father’s body was found near to the stairs that lead to the middle floor, where another stairway to exit the building is located. He said this indicated that his father was trying to escape the blaze, according to the report.
While the origins of the fire are currently still unknown, investigators are working with the theory that it might have been electrical since minutes before the fire, there were reports of fluctuating electricity, which Xavier confirmed.