Tragedy Strikes Banak Street: Elderly Homeowner Perishes in Early Morning Blaze

Tragedy Strikes Banak Street: Elderly Homeowner Perishes in Early Morning Blaze

Fire officials were called out to Banak Street on the south side of Belize City early this morning where a house was being consumed by fire.  It was a tragic start to this Tuesday morning as the home-owner, an elderly citizen, was unable to evacuate.  Reporter Benjamin Flowers has the story.

Benjamin Flowers, Love News: The early morning silence on Banak Street was shattered just before four o’clock this morning by the horns of fire trucks and police. Authorities rushed to the scene of a fire at a house at the corner of Banak and Ziricote Street. While they managed to quickly extinguished the blaze and keep the building from being destroyed the home owner, 82 year old William Watson, was found dead in the aftermath. His family says it was a tragedy that they are still trying to process.

Family Member: “A neighbor had called my uncle that lives in the lower flat to inform him that there was a fire about after three this morning. Well what we know so far is that the front part of the house has been burnt, the lower flat has severe water damage and the side part of the house also has damage but was not burnt.”

Benjamin Flowers, Love News: Kenneth Mortis, Station Officer at the National Fire Service, says that the unfortunate situation highlights the need for families to take a closer look at care for the elderly. 

Kenneth Mortis, Station Officer, National Fire Service: “So we confirmed that the fire started from the living room portion of the building. The building is insured with Home Protector for an undisclosed amount that wasn’t revealed to us during the investigations. The fire is concluded to have been as a result of an electrical flaw whereby the television set that was used as the means of entertainment had overheated and created the fire. It seems to be a trend whereby senior citizens are left in a building without having anybody close by to monitor them perse. It takes me back to the Faber’s Road incident and now we have this one here on Banak Street. That is something that I keep stressing families need to look at carefully in terms of who do I leave in care of my elders, how far do I go to leave them by themselves so to speak. I’m not saying this in no way to sound like we’re pointing  fingers here it’s just the right thing to do you know ?”

Benjamin Flowers, Love News: But those considerations are far off now as Watson’s loved ones try to come to grip with his sudden loss. Sharon McKenzie, Watson’s granddaughter, says for them it’s a complete shock.

Sharon McKenzie, Granddaughter: “It puts a toll on the family. Really devastated because we never expected this you know ? When I got the call this morning at about four o’clock the house was on fire I was shocked I couldn’t believe it. We’re still in shock. Still can’t believe he went just like that because he was a very good person, he was a God given man into his church, quiet, stayed by himself. He didn’t go anywhere. He went from church to home, one Saturdays he’d go to church and during the week he’d stay home relaxing, reading his bible and he’d put on his little church music on the tv to listen to the church on the television most of the time. I don’t know. I still can’t believe he’s gone.”
Benjamin Flowers, Love News: A post mortem examination will determine the cause of Watson’s death. He lived in the house for fifty three years and was predeceased by his wife Velma Watson.

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