Superman Comes to the Aid of Fire Victims On Prince Street
A late night blaze on Prince Street in Belize City Friday night completely destroyed the upper flat of a wooden home. It was allegedly started by a child playing with a lighter, and by the time it was extinguished only the walls of the lower flat were left standing. Four families were affected by the fire, and one man is stepping in to assist them in getting back on their feet. Phillip Willoughby is an aspiring candidate in the Albert Division, and has put together essential care packages for the fire victims. Those packages were handed over at U.D.P. Headquarters this morning. Mike Rudon and intern Chelsea Wagner collaborated in the following report.
Chelsea Wagner, Reporting
There were no fatalities in the blaze which destroyed a home on Prince Street, but there was devastation for the families who lost all their possessions. They are receiving some assistance today from Councillor Phillip Willoughby who is also aspiring to become Albert standard bearer. It’s not nearly enough, but it is appreciated by those who need a helping hand.
Sharday Arnold, Fire Victim
“Well it was the first time I experienced something like that because it was very devastating because it set me back quite a bit financially. You know – because it’s hard to start all over from the beginning. But that’s what we have to do but there’s nothing to do but just move on. I just feel thankful that at least Mr. Willoughby had reached out to me. Because since the fire on Friday he has been very proactive in getting us help so I appreciate his help.”
Philip Willoughby, Aspiring Candidate, Albert Division
“In the normal scheme of things this is what we do. Outside out the politics, this is nothing to gain political mileage. Whenever there is a disaster there is a portfolio within the Belize City Council that deals with emergencies so this is just a function of that office.”
The donations include clothing, mattresses, stoves, gas tanks and other necessary supplies. They were offloaded at U.D.P. Headquarters today, and handed over to the victims by Willoughby.
“How would you respond to criticisms of this simply being a political stunt as an aspiring candidate for the Albert Division?”
“I believe that over the years I have proven myself and the residents and people of Belize know me, they have seen the work. It’s just about helping people that comes natural. You can’t buy that, fix that, or use that to gain mileage.”
Political or not, mileage or not…the donation is needed. And much more is actually needed as the victims try to rebuild their lives.
“Well, it is never enough, you know, in a situation like this I lost everything, every single thing I lost, so whatever I am getting assistance with right now from Mr. Willoughby I appreciate that. However, I am still calling out the other Ministers to step up and some type of assistance, anything would be appreciated.”
“But then at the end of the day we still don’t have anywhere to stay, so I don’t know where we’re going to put it. Right now it’s me and my four kids and it’s really hard having four kids and not having somewhere stable to sleep every night. So if someone could assist me with that they could contact me on my sister’s phone 604-2120.”
The items disbursed today were donated by the National Emergency Management Organization. Reporting for News Five, I am Chelsea Wagner.