The North Side of Belize City has experienced grief on Monday with the highway accident; shoot out excitement on Wednesday with the Allen cousins, a murder in Buttonwood Bay on Thursday and karate club fire on Friday. Just after midday today, House of Shotokan, which is run by Shihan Ray Kelly caught on fire. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly were not there at the time of the gas fire, but a neighbor went into full rescue mode and did his best to save the building from being gutted by the fire. Nino Carlo Reyes told us in precise details the cause and how they managed to avert further damage to the building while placing themselves at great risk.
Nino Carlo Reyes: “The building of the Karate School also sells food on a daily basis and something has happened and they had a gas fire that escalated. We reside about three offices over in the same building and around 11:30, 11:45 we started noticing a funny smell. At first we didn’t really think anything of it because they cook food so we are thinking oh you know Rice and Beans , Fry Chicken something was cooking and it was fine but then the scent started to get really intense and that is when I decided to step outside and several of my employees mentioned that the smell was coming stronger and upon stepping outside and I looked and it looked a bit smokey, more smoke than usual so that is when I went to investigate and I went behind the building and I noticed that there is smoke coming out of the outside window and that is when we realized something was on fire and that is when everyone got into full throttle mode. Some of my employees came out and we noted to the other people that owned the House of Shotokan as well so we were trying our best to contact them to let them know that it seems that something was on fire. Luckily some of the people were right across the street so we were able to get to them quickly and by the time they actually came here and entered the building it was full on set fire and it was really hot. Several of us had extinguishers and we tried to put out the fire from the outside because I personally went inside with two other gentleman with fire extinguishers and the heat was really intense. I was ten or fifteen feet away from it and you can just feel the heat coming from it that you had to close your eyes. I even still have the taste on my tongue from the heat so we had to come outside immediately so my second strategy was because it was a gas fire the equipment is right close to the back window so we decided to go towards the back and we tried putting it out but that is when we noticed as well that there were gas tanks really close to the fire so a couple other guys and I were actually able to rip out one of the gas tanks away from fire and we noticed that the fire was already getting to melt one of the gas hoses already so it was a good thing for that and we tried putting it but it was still blazing really really hot and that is when one of my friends who luckily came to visit said you know what there is probably another gas tank because he can hear the hissing gaseous sounds so that is when he decided you know what we have to move because if that next tank blows it could be catastrophic for all of us. I mean fatalities and at the same time the other people were getting to the Fire Department over here. Luckily at the same time there was a Police patrol that came by so we notified them. Those guys were great, they hurry quickly stopped the traffic and everything and after that happened the first fire truck came really quick. Guys were ready well equipped, grabbed the stuff and one guy came out fully geared up and started connecting the hose and by the time the first one was set up another one came right behind him too so the guys responded really quickly.”