A house fire in Belize City on Saturday has left five persons displaced. The fire began sometime after midday on Raleigh Street in the Saint Martin’s Area. The owner of the home is Michael Hyde, who had rented the place to 50-year-old Sharon Zelaya. Station supervisor, Kenneth Mortis confirmed that the fire was caused by child’s play.
Kenneth Mortis Station Supervisor, National Fire Service: “It is confirmed that these two children were playing with matches and subsequently the house caught fire in the rear portion of the bedroom.”
Reporter: That must be something disappointing for you as an investigator to hear that kids playing with matches caused this particular thing were unattended.
Kenneth Mortis Station Supervisor, National Fire Service: “Yeah it’s very disheartening. The fire department has always tried to emphasize the importance of leaving children alone, leaving children un-monitored let alone have them in close proximity of a lighter or a match. The kids between those ages are very curious and fires are things that are very intriguing to them, they see these flames and they want to explore more about what this flame can do and in the end the sad reality is another relapse is going to happen like what we just experienced Saturday. Even though the fire was discovered in the early stages so to speak the gentleman made a heroic attempt to retrieve the two children from the house before the themselves could have sustained any fire damage.”
While Zelaya expressed relief that there were no fatalities, she told Love News that she became numb when she saw her life’s work burn down before her eyes.
Sharon Zelaya, Fire Victim: “What happened is that I was in my room because I had a thing to go to tomorrow and sometimes I am tired when I’m done working so I went into my room and took a five but I wasn’t sleeping because I was fooling around doing little things. My daughter said that she was going to go buy, my son-in-law was at the bottom of the steps and the two babies look like they were in my daughter’s room and I don’t know; I say it’s a match they found because I was buying matches a couple days ago so I said it was a match they found and that is what they probably lit. By the time my son-in-law hailed me the place was already engulfed in flames, the whole room because the room is not big like my one since mine is bigger. By the time I could turn around I got so frightened I tried to see what I could do and turned back to see if I could go back to my room but he shouted and told me ‘Miss Sharon the fire is getting too bad, you can’t go and get anything at all.’ Everything is gone, the little bit of money, papers, little things that I was trying to use to stand up again after I lost everything two years ago, everything is gone all over.”
Reporter: How many of you lived in the house ?
Sharon Zelaya, Fire Victim: “Me, my daughter, my two grand babies and my gentleman. Well if they could help me with anything it doesn’t matter with what because right now we are barefoot, we don’t have any clothes, we don’t have anything, nothing, nothing, nothing. This is the worst thing in my fifty years I have ever gone through, I didn’t want to believe that it would happen. I thank God that all of us lived, I saved my dog, I saved my two grand babies, my son-in-law helped me to the utmost thanks to him, he helped me. I could never say he never helped me, he helped me, he had by back, he made sure I didn’t turn back to go back into the house because I was going to turn back but the house was already engulfed bad – he told me I couldn’t go back and that I needed to come out. So I thank my son-in-law but if anybody wants to help me I don’t care what I would thank them and appreciate it very much.”
The home and all its content were destroyed. Zelaya is hopeful and is pleading for assistance from the public. If you would like to assist Zelaya and her family, you can reach her at 632-0395 and 614-4648.