Faulty Solar Power System Blamed for Blaze at Belize City Printing Shop

Faulty Solar Power System Blamed for Blaze at Belize City Printing Shop

  • Fire
  • November 14, 2023
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The National Fire Service says a faulty solar power system sparked the blaze at Belargo printing shop in Belize City. On Thursday, the business went up in flames, destroying the structure on Park Avenue in Buttonwood Bay and all its contents. A woman who was inside the building before the fire told Love News that she heard a popping noise and called the Belize Electricity Limited. And according to Belize City Station Supervisor Kenneth Mortis, that’s where the residents failed. He says that if the fire department was alerted in time, the flames could have possibly been prevented.

Kenneth Mortis, Station Officer, National Fire Service: “”We learned that the building was owned by 65 year old Mr.Lawrence Craig who at the time was out of the country however he was alerted of the fire almost immediately by his son 21 year old Mr.Lance Craig and a worker 73 year old Ms.Margaret Usher. What we gathered from these people was that they heard what was a continuous “popping” sound and unfortunately without trying to investigate where this popping sound was coming from it is alleged that they made a call to BEL to report their hearing and it was when they were really alerted that the fire and smoke was emitting the building that’s when they decided to exit the building. Fortunately no lives sustained physical damage as a result of the fire. Unfortunately the room that served as the office area for Belargo that room was completed gutted or should I say completely destroyed. Other portions of the building located at the rear behind that room sustained fire, smokie and minimal heat damage. Belargo is insured with RF&G insurance company unfortunately the contents were not insured. As of today the estimated loss of that room and loss of contents remains uncertain as information was not provided to the National Fire Service.” 

Mortis also spoke about how people store flammable substances and the risk that comes along with housing large quantities of chemicals.

Kenneth Mortis, Station Officer, National Fire Service: “We are fortunate that the response time from the fire department to the location was an average time. We managed to contain and control that fire before damages could have been done which from this particular instance it serves to remind us how do we go about storing hazardous materials whether it be paint, thinner, lacquer, any sort of flammable these are considered hazardous materials it’s not something you want to always readily store indoors. I know unfortunately we tend to look at security reasons in terms of I’m going to put my stuff inside for safety measures, while you can do that there are certain safety measures you want to put in place. You want to make sure that the storage room is properly ventilated, it has adequate space in between contents so to speak. The building is sustained with solar energy so to speak and it has a battery backup that suffices the building or that particular room with electricity. The fire has been determined as a result of a faulty battery backup system and with that said then again we also need to look at all the safety measures that are in place whenever we are using these solar panels and a battery backup as a secondary means of electricity.”

The structure was insured.

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