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Toddler Perishes in House Fire

A house fire claimed the life of a toddler in Belize City earlier today.  For the story, we join Renee Trujillo.


“At around midday this afternoon fire officials were called out to a home in the Conch Shell Bay area where a bungalow structure was being consumed by fire.  The plumes of smoke that were seen ascending attracted residents nearby but by the time any aid could come to the homeowner, Phyllis Rhaburn it proved too late to save her middle child, 2-year-old, Kaylee Alvarez.  Up to news time the source of the fire is yet to be determined by the investigators but according to the Police Press Officer, Fitzroy Yearwood, the blaze was fought vigorously and the law enforcement officials were out there in numbers to control the chaos that ensued.”


“We understand that there were three children in the house at the time when the fire started. The mother managed to get out two of them and the other one who was in an area in that house was left behind. Unfortunately the two year old Kaylee Alvarez perished. The body has been transported to the morgue and we have fire personnel who responded very quickly to the scene it was chaotic, people were running from all different directions and everybody wanted to go in. We had live electrical wires on the ground that were sparking and I myself had to try to contain the crowd. We understood from my arrival here that a child was inside the house, at that time we couldn’t get in the house it was already engulfed in flames , the fire personnel were quick enough to wet the other houses around that house and they managed to extinguish the fire, the initial house that was engulfed.”


“The investigation is still in its infancy stage and the source of the fire is yet to be determined.  According to Benesford Matura of the National Fire Service, they suspect that the child was seeking refuge in the bathroom where she was found.”


“After extinguishing the fire we did our mapping and we cannot say what started the fire as yet as the investigation is still in it’s infancy stage. We have men who are investigators heading out there and starting the investigation on this fire. The house that burnt down there were three other houses right next to it that got saved, two of them were scorched but the initial house completely got gutted. After extinguishment and we did a search we found Kaylee in the bathroom, the only cement area of the building so in that area in the tub we found her. The girl still had on her clothes and she was in the fetal position curled up. So she was trying to get away. I strongly believe that she succumbed to smoke inhalation before she passed out.”


“Kaylee lived in the wooden and concrete home with her two siblings, her mother and father, Glenford Alvarez; a fisherman who had just left home this morning to go to sea.  Odessa Orozco is the child’s grandaunt who lives next door; her devastation was evident as she recalls seeing the bright flames coming through the bedroom window and standing there in disbelief.”


“Somebody screamed out that Phyllis’ house was on fire so when we got up to look through the window Phyllis’ baby’s room was on fire. I didn’t know what happened, I still can’t believe it yet. My two granddaughters were playing in the house with their cousins in that yard this morning. When I saw the house on fire I came out to see what I could do but there was nothing I could do and then Phyllis asked me for Kaylee and I told her that she wasn’t in this yard. We were looking for Kaylee and no one could find her. She was a sweet baby. She liked to play and she liked to come to my house and play with my granddaughter. She was nice. What happened I don’t know I can’t believe it yet. I can’t believe it. When I looked through the window I was this blazing fire in this baby’s room.”


“The mother of the child, Phyllis Rhaburn was removed from the scene of the fire and taken to the hospital as she had passed out on the street.  Police officers removed the child’s charred remains from the house and transported it to the morgue at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.  The traffic wardens, police and fire officials were out in numbers and according to Inspector Yearwood, several of them were off duty when they stumbled upon the tragedy unfolding.”


“I was only passing by when I saw the commotion and I pulled over, myself and another officer from Eastern Division North. We do not look at separation in this department. We saw danger, we saw the need for assistance and we all responded, from both sides of Eastern Division. It’s not usual but it’s around rush hour everyone was passing at the same time and thank god that they responded. I have fire personnel that were off duty that were nearby and they responded, likewise traffic officers.”


For assistance to the family, Rhaburn can be contacted at 635-1375.  Our news archives show that back in 2014, fire officials were called to the very same area when one of the homes in the yard belonging to Patricia Rhaburn was on fire.  No life was lost in that blaze and only a portion of the home was destroyed.  Reporting for Love News, I am Renee Trujillo.