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Police will not charge person believed to have started Cleghorn Street house fire

An early morning fire on Cleghorn Street in Belize City last Friday left eleven persons without a home. The two-storey wooden house sustained serious damage which displaced three persons who lived in the upper flat and a family of eight who resided downstairs. Today police verified that the blaze was started by one of the tenants but despite the evidence available, he will not face charges as the landlord is not pressing court action. ASP Cowo explains.

ASP Alejandro Cowo, Head of Crimes Investigation Branch, Belize City: “Police observed that the upper flat of the building was on fire. Fire personnel arrived at the location where the fire was extinguished and thereafter an inspection of the building contents from inside of the upper and lower flats were damaged. The upper flat was due to the fire and the lower flat was because of water damage. A portion of the inside of the house was also damaged due to the fire. The estimated value of the damages is $15,000 Belize currency. The information we’ve gathered is that the room where the fire began it was being rented by a male person. When we interviewed the owner of the house they mentioned that apparently the tennant was suffering from some kind of mental disorder and he was claiming that he was afraid that someone was coming to attack him and he had locked himself inside of the house and he ended up lighting some of the clothes that they had inside of the building for him to escape from the building. That person was detained, he was in police custody and questioned and thereafter he was released. It’s a matter that the police are investigating as the owner of the house they have not requested any court action into the matter. We know that he is going through some kind of depression, he works at one of the call centers and we have spoken to other persons and apparently he has an alcohol problem and that is what could have led him to light that building on fire.”

Reporter: So since the owners of the house are not pursuing court action does that mean that police leave the matter alone in terms of the criminal aspects of that particular case ?

ASP Alejandro Cowo, Head of Crimes Investigation Branch, Belize City: “Well remember we need to have a complainant before police charges anybody.”

The family is appealing to the public for assistance and they can be contacted at 635-7750.