The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) will be taking strict action against persons who commit arson. This comes on the heels of several recent fires that were found to be caused by acts of arson.
The majority of the fires that occurred for the year thus far have been in dwelling houses. During an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Chief Fire Officer, Marlon Gentle said that 12 of the fires were deliberately set by people.
Chief Fire Officer, Marlon Gentle
“That is an area that I need to focus on… it seems that more and more persons are opting to use fires to settle scores or to end disputes… that fire that has occurred on the East Bank is being investigated and it appears to be some act of a person setting fire to the building,” the Fire Chief stated.
The GFS received 152 emergency calls thus far for 2017 as opposed to 389 for the corresponding period last year. This reflects a 61 percent decrease in the number of calls the fire service received for fires. However, more buildings were destroyed by fire this year (23) up to date, when compared to the 18 that occurred in 2016 over the corresponding period.
“We have seven buildings being severely damaged this year, as against six buildings last year (corresponding period), and nine buildings slightly damaged against eight buildings. In other words, 39 buildings were involved in fires this year, and 32 were involved last year (corresponding period), just a slight increase of seven buildings,” the Fire Chief pointed out.
Gentle emphasised that the GFS, in collaboration with the Guyana Police Force (GPF) will ensure the law is brought to bear on arsonists. The Fire Chief stressed that, “we would like to send a strong message that so long as our investigations lead to that aspect or the aspects of persons deliberately setting fires to these buildings, maliciously, which is a criminal offence, we would support law enforcement agencies in ensuring that these persons are brought to justice.”
The GFS recorded 2997 fire calls in 2015 as opposed to 2441 calls in 2016; this represents a 19 percent decrease in fire calls. There was also a five percent decrease in the number of buildings involved in fires in 2016.
According to the Fire Chief, the decrease can only be attributed to the prompt response of the GFS when called upon, and the expansion of the GFS in a number of regions.
However, Gentle is urging members of the public to practice fire safety measures and take responsibility for the environment in which they reside.