Two firemen killed in Montrose smash-up

Two firefighters are dead, while four others are nursing injuries at the Georgetown Public Hospital after their tender they were in plunged into the Montrose Guysuco Pump Basin around 11:00 h yesterday morning.

The fire tender still in the Pump Basin at about 14:00 h.

Dead are Wilfred Harry, 28, of 43 Company Road Buxton, and David Fowler, 32, of Williamstad Road North Ruimveldt. Both men were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital..

According to eyewitnesses the fire tender, coming from a fire in Buxton, was speeding west along the East Coast Highway when it hit a Sheriff Taxi which was proceeding east along the road. In an attempt to stop rashly, eyewitnesses said, the driver of the vehicle and it ended up in the basin.

The tender pinned the firemen under it.

Eyewitness Roy Sukdeo - one of the few people to venture into the water to assist -- told the Guyana Chronicle that the other firefighter who died had been flung from the vehicle and got stuck in the mud in the basin.

"When I watch", said Sukdeo, "I see all the fire hose flying, two guys were pinned there, we did not know that one was pinned in the mud, so no one knew about him until they counted the men and said 'Where is the other guy?'

"Then they rushed back in the mud and they find him. When this thing happened, the firemen did not really know what to do, so they running and falling down and people had to assist them."

Sukdeo said that the ordeal went from bad to worse when the man who was pinned by the vehicle was crushed by it, and when they tried to remove the vehicle with a chain, the chain snapped.

"They were using a chain, but the chain burst and it fall back on the guy in the mud... The whole truck fell on him.

Sukdeo said that it was not until a man brought a big rope used to anchor boats that they were able to get the man from underneath the truck.

Both of the deceased firemen are fathers of little children. Harry, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, has a six week old child. Fowler, has three children -- David, Zenobia and Angel -- with a fourth along the way. Fowler's relatives remember him as a 'very quiet' person, who had a love for his job.

One of the eyewitnesses, Seecharran could have also died if he did not act fast. He had to leave his Honda 70 motorcycle which he was riding east along the highway and run across the road when he saw the fire tender coming towards him. His motorcycle was badly damaged by the tender.

"I see the fire truck since from the turn swaying, so I had ample time to see what was going on, when it turned the turn it lashed a car, but after I see it turning and turning [losing control] and coming in my direction, I run across the road."

The man said that his bike is damaged beyond repair; he noted that the only good thing left on the bike is the engine.

Some persons living along the area where the accident happened, even though saddened by the two deaths, are of the opinion that the turn is cursed, and that fatal accidents occur there often..

"Every year some body always dead here," one man said. A group of boys agreed with him. Another person at the scene, who lives and works nearby, noted that coming on to Christmas time, accidents, some fatal, always happens in the area.

One man even related that, according to old stories, the area is guarded by 'Dutchmen' who control the roadways.

 Monday, October 17, 2005