Blaze Leaves Belize City Family Homeless, Caused by Makeshift Stove

Blaze Leaves Belize City Family Homeless, Caused by Makeshift Stove

A Belize City family of five is displaced after a blaze in Belize City gutted their home last night. Around 7 o’clock, a fire broke out at a two-story building at the corner of Pickstock Street and Lovely Lane. The blaze quickly engulfed the home, but fortunately, its occupants escaped without injury. Fire personnel were called, but by the time they arrived, the structure was already destroyed. The flames ravaged the wooden and concrete structure and all its contents. Belize City Fire Station Officer, Kenneth Mortis, says that the fire department has since carried out an investigation and learned that the blaze was caused by someone using a makeshift stove.

Kenneth Mortis, Station Officer, National Fire Service: “On arrival what we saw was the remains of what probably was a two storey structure. Why I say remains is because the supporting embers from the upper had already collapsed. That building was totally engulfed in flames. Firefighting operations commenced as normal. We brought the fire under control and we started an investigation trying to determine the cause and origin which actually was just done probably fifteen minutes ago prior to now. We learnt that the building, the two storey structure was occupied by two different families. Ms.Alicia Ranchoran, her common law husband and their three children occupied the upper flat. While 69-year-old Mr.Garcia who was the occupant of the lower flat. We learnt that the building had no legal connection in terms of electricity by BEL and the fire started in the lower flat where Mr.Garcia was occupying. What we came up with was Mr.Garcia was using a makeshift stove for whatever reason he needed to cook something, unfortunately that makeshift stove got toppled over, the fire started and in the state of mind that Mr.Garcia was in he visited his nearby neighbor asking for water but Mr.Garcia did not really specifically state what was the purpose of him wanting water and of course as neighbors he is known in the community as a handyman so to speak so he just got the water and got the hose and it wasn’t until the daughter for the neighbor that he asked water from noticed that hey this gentleman’s house is on fire, by then it was too late, it had already consumed the upper portion and had already spread to the lower portion.”

According to Mortis, the blaze could have been far worse if it were not for the work of residents who went out to assist fire personnel.

Kenneth Mortis, Station Officer, National Fire Service: “So it was a coordinated team effort between firefighting personnel and those brave neighbors who placed themselves in harm’s way trying to contain the fire. Remember these are civilians they are not trained to properly deal with fire, they are not suited to approach this fire. As you all can see from the video the heat was a magnitude in excess of fifteen hundred degrees fahrenheit, I believe one of the news reporters said that he was fifteen probably a couple feet away and he felt that heat so he knew what was going on last night. We are grateful for the fact that the fire was contained to that one structure. However the neighbor she received heavy fire damage in her windows, and the fire then caught under the ceiling. I believe that she needs to now do some heavy repairs to her structure from the fire and of course in trying to save her structure she suffered extensive water damage. All in all we managed to extinguish that fire without any lives being threatened by the blaze. Again the wind direction aided us because it was rather still and from what the video footage shows last night the fire was more vertical versus threatening the neighbor horizontally. That cement structure even though that family suffered loss that cement structure proved to be the barricade between the current building and neighboring structures after that cement structure. Had that fire jumped that building we would have still been out there looking at at least three to four houses lost looking at the age of what these buildings pose, the structure of them, it would have been different fiasco.”

Mortis added that while the fire was not intentional, police may be looking to levy charges against the man whose actions are responsible for the blaze.

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