Fire officers at the scene where Doodooman and Ramdaye Sankar perished in a fire at their home on St Julien’s Road, Princes Town, yesterday.

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Michael Deepak Doodooman valiantly braved the scorching heat, trying to save his elderly parents as he saw them rolling around on the ground, their clothing engulfed in flames, as a raging inferno swept through their Princes Town home yesterday morning.

But despite his best efforts, the couple, Doodooman Sankar, 79, and his wife Ramdaye Sankar, 84, both died, in their living room.

As he watched firefighters dousing the smouldering ruins, Doodooman whispered, “I couldn’t do anything. Everything was like a ball of fire. And when I turn on the tap there was not a drop of water.”

His parents lived alone in a two-storey house at St Julien’s Trace, an area overcome with multiple landslips.

Ramdaye was the oldest matriarch in the community and the couple, surrounded by their eleven children, were well taken care of. Every day their daughter Paratie would visit to help them to tidy up the house and eat.

Doodooman said whenever he passed the house he would call out to his mother. She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and his father had suffered a stroke which left him unable to walk properly.

He recalled how as soon as he saw the fire, he ran to the house and found everything ablaze.

“They were still alive. They were not screaming but they were on the ground, trying to get up,” he said.

Wiping away tears, Doodooman said he went to get water but there was none.

“I couldn’t do anything. My brother get burnt up in his head but we could not save them,” Michael said.

He described his parents as loving and kind.

“My father worked in the (Princes Town) corporation as a driver. He used to also drive the ambulance at one time. They were loving people, the best people you could find,” Michael added.

Grandson Rajendra Sampath said he was at his home when his mother called to say his grandparents’ home was on fire. Sampath said by the time he arrived at 8.15 am, the entire house was gone.

Firefighters told Guardian Media that they responded as soon as they got the call but had to turn back as they were unable to get to the house because of a huge landslip.

The fire station is 15 minutes away but the detour they took because of the landslip caused them to arrive at the house 40 minutes later.

Nadera Arjoon, a member of the St Julian’s Village Council, said it was regrettable that the community had lost the couple, as they were cherished and loved by everyone who knew them.

“What hurts us is that when the fire truck was on their way, it could not pass the landslip so they had to turn around and use another road to get here. The fire appliance could not reach on time,” Arjoon said.

“The landslips have disrupted our water supply so there was also no water. It makes us wonder if Mr Sankar and his wife would still be here today if the landslip was fixed.”

MP for Princes Town Barry Padarath echoed similar sentiments, saying double deaths were “an avoidable and senseless tragedy.”

Padarath said he has written several motions and asked several questions in Parliament about the state of the St Julien’s Road, which has over a dozen landslips.

In some places, the telephone and cable lines are at road level because the poles have toppled with the constant movement of the land.

Padarath said while he did not want to politicise the couple’s untimely passing, he wanted the Ministry of Works to know the outcome of its decision not to repair the road which is used by thousands of people.

Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan told Guardian Media earlier that several landslip repairs had been done in Princes Town, including one at St Croix Road. He said repairs would be subject to the availability of funds.