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Fire leaves families homeless

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Four families who lived at the Long Barracks on Flamboyant Street in Belize City had already started their Christmas preparations when tragedy struck last night.  A fire broke out at the building and completely destroyed two of the units while damaging two others.  Today, Emmeth Baptist whose apartment was completely destroyed returned to the scene of the fire to see what he could salvage. Love News spoke with the father of five.

Emmeth Baptist, Fire Victim

“When the first started I was at the taxi stand running taxi when my mom called me to tell me the house was on fire. By the time I drove here, the fire started in the middle of the fire, when I got here the community was trying to take things out of the house but by the time they got back in the fire was already going through the back of the house so we couldn’t save anything. I had already bought everything for the Christmas, everything was bought, all of that was burnt because today was the day I was going to put down everything since today was my girlfriend’s day off. So today we were going to put down everything and from there I was just going to continue running my taxi all of that is gone.”

Reporter

Could you tell us what you bought?

Emmeth Baptist, Fire Victim

“My marley, my chair coverings, my kids’ toys, my paints, ornaments, we just got another table. Right now I’m just trying to clean up the spot and see how I could fix it back to put something over my kids’ head again because right now I’m staying at my mom’s but right now I’m trying to clean it up and see what is happening but it doesn’t look too positive right now, everything was burnt.”

Love News also spoke with Benisford Matura, Operations Officer at the National Fire Service, who said at approximately 8:40 p.m. they received a call about the fire.

 

Benisford Matura, Operations Officer, National Fire Department

“Both units from this headquarters were dispatched to the area. Upon arrival, the long barracks had four different apartments, we discovered the second one totally engulfed and the fire was spreading into the first. We got into operation and we managed to save the second half so the third and fourth apartments did not ignite and we managed to get the fire under control and extinguish the one in the first and second apartments.”

Reporter

We understand that section had roof damage is that the case?

Benisford Matura, Operations Officer, National Fire Department

“The third apartment had minor damage to the roof, actually we had to pull some of the ceilings to make sure that it didn’t spread because the fire was spreading through the roof, its one roof that the four apartments share, so we had to pull some of the beaverboard to make sure that it didn’t spread. Our investigators and some witnesses stating that this fire started in the bedroom of the second apartment. Apparently, a child was there playing with matches or a cigarette lighter and the mattress caught fire. The child ran out and yelled fire and that is when the neighbors realized what was going on and they tried to extinguish this fire.”

Matura added that the third and fourth apartments are still livable with only water damage and smoke scent. Meanwhile, the value of the damages has yet to be ascertained. The families are seeking assistance and can be reached at 632-1161, 665-0545 or 633-3521.

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