Chateau’s Remaining Structure Further Gutted

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Updated: April 18, 2017

The remains of the Chateau Caribbean establishment in Belize City caught fire yesterday.  Renee Trujillo has the story.

RENEE TRUJILLO REPORTING

“Almost five months ago, the landmark structure which housed the Chateau Caribbean Restaurant in the Fort George Area went up in smoke as the building caught fire and quickly consumed the wooden structure.  It was a major loss for Belize City as the location has a history with generations once knowing it as Holden Memorial Hospital under the care of Dr McCleary.  In the November 27 inferno, only the wooden portion of the establishment was destroyed, leaving the hotel portion standing.  That is until April 17 when just before three o’clock in the afternoon, fire officials were alerted of a fire inside the concrete portion of the Chateau Caribbean.  It took over an hour to extinguish the blaze which caused thick plumes of black and grey smoke to cloud the three storey structure.  While investigators had ruled out arson and electrical fault for the November fire, they are now of the belief that this incident was an incendiary fire.”

OREN SMITH

“Two units were dispatched to that location. On arrival on scene visible flames and smoke were seen coming from the north concrete section of the structure. The fire department got into operation to extinguish the structure which was later brought under control and extinguished. The structure, the site is owned by one Mr. Low. Preliminary investigations revealed that the fire occurred on the lower section of that structure. The cause of that fire is still under investigation.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

“Would it be safe to venture and say that it was an incendiary fire?”

OREN SMITH

“One can speculate such however I prefer to refrain from saying such until the investigation is concluded.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

“Is it out of the ordinary, because I was out there and it took well over an hour before the firefighters really got that fire under control; not extinguished just under control, what was the reason for that?”

OREN SMITH

“There were some serious collapse that had occurred from that last fire where floors fell on top of floors and it’s not easy to get into certain areas where the fire was burning. You can extinguish those the water can easily be directed but fires burning behind sections you can’t reach if no water reaches it it will just continue to burn until you can find a way to get water into that area hence the reason for the long fire.”

RENEE TRUJILLO REPORTING

“The structure that housed the Chateau Caribbean Restaurant was built in the 1900s and was considered an exotic building as it was made of only Canadian Cedar.  Reports indicate that it was actually constructed in Canada, dismantled and shipped to Belize.  It was initially the home for the Biddle family before made into a hospital facility by Dr CJ McLeary and then into the restaurant operated by the Lou family.  According to officials there is no additional insurance monies to be collected for yesterday’s fire.”

Station Officer, Oren Smith says the area is deemed unsafe and members of the public are cautioned to stay away.