Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 7th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 02ND APRIL, 2015
With Secondary Entrance Exams (SEA)
just two months away, parents of students
attending Fanny Village Government Pri-
mary School watched in horror yesterday
as a pre-dawn fire re-ignited around midday
and burnt down most of the school.
Seething parents chastised the firemen say-
ing the second fire could have been avoided
if the wooden administrative building and
washrooms were properly soaked by the fire
response team. Only two pre-fab buildings
were left standing.
The initial flames were first spotted by res-
ident Marvin Roberts around 4 am when he
got up to jog in the nearby savannah.
"I saw smoke and when I looked up at the
school, I saw a bright orange flame from the
roof. It looked like it was the library building.
I called the security and then I ran across the
savannah and told a neighbour who alerted
the fire officers," Roberts said.
With the fire station less than quarter mile
away, the firefighters from Point Fortin Fire
Station arrived within five minutes and put
out the blaze. The main library block was
completely burnt but the rest of the school
President of the PTA Byron Cumberbatch
and President of the Fanny Village Council
Curt Allan arrived and tried to remove the
printer and other valuables from the main
building. But Cumberbatch said he noticed
wisps of white smoke coming from the build-
"I told the fireman that it looked like the
fire was still burning but he tell me not to tell
him how to do his job. He said not to worry,
the fire under control and we should not
remove anything else from the school," Cum-
For several hours the villagers kept watch
and when the Guardian arrived, smoke was
billowing from the back of the school. At 12.45
midday, the fire started to spread from the
main building. Allan called the fire station but
there was no response from the firefighters.
"They told us that only when we seeing
fire we should call," Cumberbatch complained.
This reporter called 990 at 1.10 pm to report
that the building was on fire and none of the
officers from Point Fortin Fire Station had
The operator responded, "What! Nobody
came as yet? Let me call them back." The
officers arrived at 1.18 pm and by then the
entire school was engulfed.
Fanned by strong winds, the fire crept under
the roof of the main building while firefighters
used ladders to reach the roof. The Point Fortin
Borough Corporation Community Emergency
Response Team also assisted in clearing the
villagers from the fire scene. Around 2 pm,
Petrotrin firefighters arrived and the fire was
brought under control.
A fireman tries to contain a fire
at Fanny Village Government
Primary School yesterday.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
SEA students in limbo
As fire destroys Fanny Village school
Contacted on his cell phone yesterday,
Gopeesingh said the old school building
was expected to be demolished soon to
make way for the construction of a new
school. He said the students will be
accommodated in the nearby community
centre while a new school is being built.
"We have to expedite the process for the
new school to be built. In the meantime, we
have the EFCL looking into this,"
Allan said the Village Council will work
with the affected students. However he
said the Community Centre did not have
any electricity as the supply was cut by
A parent whose daughter is in Standard
5 said she was very worried that the fire
would affect her child's performance at
SEA. "With exams so close, I don't know
how this will affect her. We waiting for a
new school for years now and nothing
happened. Because we live in Point, they
forget us," she said. Two children who
attend the school said it was sad to see the
school burnt down.
Cumberbatch said the school has over
380 pupils and 12 teachers. He said in
2008, construction of a new building
started but the project was never
completed because of shoddy work.
The historic Woodford Lodge Recreation
Club, once used by socialites of the defunct
Caroni (1975) Limited has been destroyed in
The inferno broke out shortly after midday
in the unoccupied building at Chaguanas.
Firefighters used more than 50,000 litres
of water to fight the blaze but were unable
to save the building, marked as historic by
the the Sugar Heritage Village of T&T.
Police said since the closure of Caroni in
2003, the club was abandoned. Street dwellers
frequented the building and often cooked on
Anthony De Souza, one of the ex-Caroni
workers, said he used to go to the club in the
hey days of sugar.
"I think it is a place of memory, a beautiful
antique building and the home of the Wood-
ford Lodge estate. It is a pity it was destroyed,"
De Souza said.
Firefighters estimated that the structure
was valued at $80,000.
Curtis Renaud, fire sub officer of the
Chaguanas Fire Station said because the build-
ing was comprised mainly of old wood, it
became engulfed quickly.
Investigators said there was a possibility
that one of the street dwellers may have lit
a fire nearby, which spread and caused the
building to be destroyed.
Last year, calls were made for the club to
be restored. In April last year, Chaguanas-
based DirecTV refurbished the Woodford
Lodge recreational ground under its commu-
nity outreach programme. The facility was
painted and donated seats washed and
The project was completed in three days
between April 9 and 11.
In an unrelated incident, fire also broke out
at Caratal Road, Tortuga. Police said Rajkumar
Ramcharan of 28B Caratal Road, Tortuga was
at his home when fire started around 8 pm.
Ramcharan and his family managed to run to
safety but their entire house was destroyed.
Gasparillo police are continuing investiga-
Club burns down
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