Electrical Flaw the cause of Caye Caulker that displaced ten people

Electrical Flaw the cause of Caye Caulker that displaced ten people

  • Fire
  • November 14, 2023
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The cause of Friday’s massive fire on Caye Caulker that destroyed two buildings and displaced ten people has been labeled as an electrical flaw. The National Fire Service has completed its investigation and says the fire started at Barrier Reef Sports Bar. Fire personnel say the bar’s food cooler was connected to faulty wiring, which the owner was aware of, and that led to an electrical short. The blaze began just after 8 o’clock on the island’s main street and rapidly spread, forcing residents to form bucket brigades. On Friday, the island’s Chairwoman stated that the fire service was impeded by structures she says were illegally built within the beach’s buffer zone and called on the government to take note of the issue. Today, the NFS’ Belize City Station Officer, Kenneth Mortis, joined in that call and weighed in on the difficulty faced in accessing beaches on the island.

Kenneth Mortis, Station Officer, National Fire Service: “What developing areas does it hampers the accessibility to the open water supply by the fire department. What we once knew as an available water head over time an establishment is being built and it cuts off the water supply for us. Nevertheless we must continue the job that we are paid and trained to do which is firefighting. We managed to draft water, some one thousand three hundred feet away from the location. While we were fortunate enough that the civilians though they might not be happy based on the outcome but they played a crucial role in assisting the fire department with the bucket brigade. That combined with our firefighting effort managed to limit the disaster to two structures. I mean it was a wet morning, it was raining the morning. If you look at what was damaged versus what remained the close proximity between some of these buildings is still an amazing effort to see that while we lost two structures we managed to save quite a number of others surrounding that barely had any scorch or head damage so to speak. We learned that Cubana Restaurant that one that was insured with RF&G he suffered a loss between building and contents of $770,000 and that’s just an approximate figure provided to us by the owner Mr.Clemente. The sports bar was owned by Mr.Clifford Williams. Unfortunately that building was not insured. He suffered a massive loss as well. Again fortunately for owners, residents and the fire department we had no loss or injury to lives.”

Mortis also responded to criticism from residents, who stated that the department had difficulty maneuvering their trucks on the island’s narrow streets.

Kenneth Mortis, Station Officer, National Fire Service: “We arrived and we were operating at full capacity. We experienced mechanical difficulties that created some delay but like I said that was after the fact that the delay in actually acquiring the water from the water source was found it wasn’t like that was the primary you know when you look at where Caye Caulker fire station is at versus where the fire was located that was a mere five minutes. The traffic wasn’t a problem, the maneuvering of these trucks which some people are saying the trucks are too big the for the island that never was a problem. We responded, we acquire water, we lifted water we started firefighting and that was when we faced a slight mechanical problem that was probably rendered after a couple of minutes. We will never ever arrive at a fire scene and fight it flawlessly unfortunately even though that might be what we want. Internally we need to continue cope and deal with whatever mechanical issues that might arise from these trucks externally we need to address issues that might impede our performance in terms of providing a service to the public that we should deem as efficient and proficient as we possibly can.”

Additionally, Mortis added that the island’s residents were instrumental in extinguishing the blaze.

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