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Dec 11, 2015

Fire Destroys Kings Park Residence

Tonight, at least three persons are left homeless and three others are staying with relatives after the two storey house they were living in was gutted by flames. Just before four this morning, a fire broke at the corner of Hopkins and Third Streets in the King’s Park area of Belize City and within minutes, everything was lost.  The property is owned by Lela Usher, who resides in the U.S., and up until the time of the blaze, her son Gregory was living in the upper flat along with some friends, while tenants occupied the first floor. By the time firefighters arrived on scene and got into action, nothing could have been saved. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Where is Gregory Usher? Firefighters say that they have been unable to locate Usher, who lived along with at least one other person in the upper flat of a two storey concrete and wooden house that was gutted this morning sometime before four o’clock. By the time the blaze was extinguished, all had been lost and only debris and scorched walls are left of what used to be Usher’s house.

 

Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Station Manager, Nat’l Fire Service

“Upon arrival, the upper flat of a two storey structure was seen engulfed in flames. Following a preliminary size up, the national fire service immediately went into operation, extinguishing the fire. The fire was later brought under control and extinguished. As a result of the fire, a two storey structure was destroyed.”

 

The lower flat of the building was occupied by thirty-six year old Rayford Sanchez and his thirty-five year old wife, Donalee Burns. They, along with their high school daughter, were living at the house for less than a year. They lost all their belongings. The upper flat, however, was occupied by three persons, including Usher, an alleged drug user who relied on candles since the second floor was not electrified.

 

Orin Smith

“Preliminary investigation reveals that the structure had no electrical current at the time of the fire. The area of origin is narrowed to the northwest section of the upper flat.”

 

Leroy Green, Neighbor

“When I opened my backdoor, I noticed a glow in the backroom of the upstairs part of the house where the fire started. By the time I came outside, one of my neighbors was on the phone calling the fire department. I have to say that I must commend the ambulance; that arrived very promptly. The police were next; quite a number of police came very punctually. The fire department actually took quite a while to come. And by the time it came, the house had already been engulfed; the fire spread so quickly.”

 

Duane Moody

“Sir do you know if there were any occupants inside the house at the time of the fire?”

 

Leroy Green

Leroy Green

“I don’t know if the owner of the house was at home. I know there is no electricity in the upstairs of the house and I guess they use candles because sometimes I can see them moving around and it looks like people walking around with candles. The downstairs was occupied by a family who moved here just under a year ago.”

 

At the sound of crackling noises, residents living in proximity to the scene came outside their homes to find the structure already engulfed in flames. Leroy Green lives next door and says he was very concerned that the blaze would have spread to his house.

 

Leroy Green

“If there had been a wind blowing, it would have come across. But thankfully at that time of the morning—and this was one of the days that absolutely no wind was blowing—so actually if you had seen the fire, it was straight up instead of billowing all over the place. But it was very intense because you could feel the heat. And I knew that if one spark could get on the top of my house or something, it would create havoc. But as I said, thankfully it didn’t happen and when the fire engines did arrive, they contained the fires to that one area. So it did not spread. If you notice, none of the houses around here got affected.”

 

The investigation continues into what started the fire. Duane Moody for News Five.

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