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Fire Guts Home in Belize City

A family of four is displaced after a fire gutted their home in the old capital. Suspicions are abound that the fire may have been intentionally set. We join Reporter Vejea Alvarez for a report on the destruction and a distraught family left behind.

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The smell of smoke is what awoke 55 year old Fitzroy Myles senior as he slept inside his home on Antelope Street in Belize City. It as approximately 1:30 in the morning on Wednesday July 28 when their bungalow home caught fire. Myles quickly jumped into action and alerted his wife Derva Myles of the danger.

Derva Miles, Fire Victim: “I just woke up and my husband said ‘Something is on.’ When he said something was on I noticed a different glare from the light so I jumped up right away and I noticed that I saw fire near his machine, the weed whacker and I hollered for him and so he ran out and he grabbed it. When he grabbed it he was trying to blot the fire and when he tried to blot it now I started to rush to get some water by the sink then he ran to the bathroom but quick as that as he got back like just a blaze.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The Myles family had been occupying the area since 1996 and within an hour their belongings were nothing but ashes. The couple sought help from the neighbors but getting help from the police and the fire trucks proved challenging.

Derva Miles, Fire Victim: “Well I came out. When I ran out he rushed back in. He said the TV. When he rushed in back it was because the smoke was already thick in there so he couldn’t make it back through. He said don’t worry about it just come out. He said the gas tank and I said try to pull it out, the smoke was so thick he couldn’t stand it so he said just let’s go so I decided to run and holler for my neighbor. One neighbor didn’t answer, the second neighbor and knocked and she answered right away and came out. I said Ms.Marleni the house is on fire and I didn’t know who to call if it was 911 to call but I tried to call 911 but it seems like it was not going through. A while after she said the truck took long so they’d call again but from the second call they came right after the second call.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News:  By the time the firefighters arrived the house was already beyond saving but they did manage to contain the flames from spreading to the other houses that were in close proximity. It is a tragedy that firefighters are investigating and one that the family believes was a case of arson. It was only three months ago that the very same house was shot at.”

Derva Miles, Fire Victim: “I believe the police need to do a serious investigation because I don’t think it’s just like that. The way that fire blazed up like that so quick.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: You think you guys are victims of arson ?

Derva Miles, Fire Victim: “We believe so.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Where would that idea come from ? Have you guys been threatened before? Do you guys have problems with anyone in the neighborhood ? 

Derva Miles, Fire Victim: “Me and my husband no. No.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: I understand that they shot the house sometime in the past ?

Derva Miles, Fire Victim: In April.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Supervisor at the National Fire Services Kenneth Mortis says that after conducting preliminary investigations the department concurs with the family’s belief. 

Kenneth Mortis, Supervisor, National Fire Service: “The fire department has reasons to believe that this fire was set intentionally by person or persons unknown. We’ve done our research and we’ve done our homework. We learnt that the family was targeted days before leading up to the fire. However the million dollar question still remains as to who and why. We detected a vague scent because it was a minimal smell that we detected the traces were found exactly at the rear of the building we believe that that was the cause of the fire. Bear in mind you might say but doesn’t a weed eater couldn’t have shown it as well that scent that I picked up this morning and what we observed last night was straight accelerant. Everybody who knows weed eaters know that that is a fuel mixed with oil and that wasn’t what we detected this morning at the fire scene. Now the investigation is in the hands of the police and I would want to say neighbors but unfortunately at that time of the morning everybody was basically asleep so I would now say it’s in the hands of of the police and the Myles family.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Myles says she’s thankful her ten and fifteen year old children were not at home at the time. She believes things could have been worse and is grateful that they were able to escape the burning building unharmed. 

Derva Miles, Fire Victim: “Suppose we didn’t wake up in time what could have happened. As I said God is with us. I’m grateful no one is hurt. If anybody would want to help 610-4134 or 669-9157 any little assistance would be good.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The value of the 32X34 uninsured structure and its contents were said  to be valued at an estimated $50,000. If you are willing and able to donate to the Myles family they can be reached at 610-4134 or 699-957