Ian Sambula, Fire Victim, Dies in Treatment in Texas
There is a second murder to report tonight in connection with an act of arson at a house on Aloe Vera Street, Belize City on October fourth. Five weeks after the house was set on fire, Ian Sambula succumbed on Wednesday night at the Shriner’s Hospital in the United States. The four-year-old child sustained severe burns to his body and was flown out to Texas, but the severity of the burns caused complications that took the life of Ian. Aaron Gabourel, eleven-year-old, perished instantly, but Ian and his sibling Empress Hamilton, were removed from the blaze and taken overseas for treatment. Empress continues to improve, but the recovery process is long. The children were watching television at a relative’s house when the arsonist entered and lit the wooden bungalow on fire. The news of the death of a second fire victim has struck the family hard. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
An arsonist responsible for the deaths of two minors in a deadly house fire in Belize City on October fourth remains on the loose. A criminal investigation into the identity of the culprit, as well as the motive for setting a wooden bungalow ablaze on Aloe Vera Street a little over a month ago is ongoing. Eleven-year-old Aaron Gabourel perished in that inferno. While relatives Ian Sambula and Empress Hamilton were able to escape the raging fire, they were severely injured. Both suffered from third degree burns to ninety percent of their bodies and had to be flown abroad for medical treatment. Their recovery at Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, Texas was measured. Sadly, four-year-old Ian has lost the fight to survive the tragedy.
Caroline Hamilton, Fire Victim/Aunt of Deceased
“Well the report weh come out ah Texas is that the lee bwai has passed away. Sir, I noh know how fi explain this, how fi seh. Dis da too much di family di tek sir. Dis da too much. Aaron, now Ian. I am begging, please somebody, somebody please come out and talk because dis da too much fi di family fi handle. My lee nephew only four-years-old and gaan from dis earth, noh even live ih life. Aaron only eleven, gaan, neva live ih life. Please, somebody got compassion eena unu heart, compassion. Somebody please talk.”
A desperate plea from a mother who also lost a son to the fire. Her nephew reportedly succumbed to organ failure sometime before nine o’clock on Wednesday night, leaving his sibling and mother behind to brave the macabre ordeal.
“We lose too much. Dis da too much. I cyant handle it. I just di try fu cope and try fi si if I could live on di rest ah my life and si if I could move on but dis too haad. I cyant move on now because dis da too much. My lee nephew gaan, ih neva deserve dis. Aaron neva deserve dis. None ah we neva deserve dis.”
The grave misfortune that has befallen the Hamilton family is strongly believed to be the result of an ongoing land dispute among relatives. In May 2015, a fire was deliberately set at their residence, leaving the family homeless. While they were subsequently able to piece together their lives and rebound from the incident, the casualties from this latest attack has left Caroline Hamilton broken. The only glimmer of hope is the prognosis and recovery of the remaining victim.
“Empress is coping. Empress is sitting up now, talking and di nurse dehn and thing ih di tell dehn hurry clean up ih skin and thing cause she tiad, she wahn come home, tru Crystal?”
In the wake of the fire, investigators attached to Eastern Division South were following all leads.
ACP Chester Williams, Regional Commander, Eastern Division South [File: October 5th, 2016]
“We had a fire on Aloe Vera Street last night. We suspect that the fire is arson. In that fire one eleven-year-old child unfortunately perished. Three other persons were injured,; two of whom I am told received ninety percent burn on their bodies and there is an adult who was also burnt but not so seriously. So the matter is being investigated; we are looking for one person of interest in relation to that investigation.”
Since that interview which was granted to the media the day after the fire, very little has been divulged by the Belize Police Department, save to say that the suspects who had been initially apprehended had to be released due to a lack of evidence.
“We are poor people, we don’t have anyone fu seh step up for us and get down to the matter and find out why dehn murder our kids. I am begging to anybody outside weh have, you know, weh have that power to help us, to find dehn murderers. And I got something to say to that murderer, give yourself up to Christ because you have done wrong, you took away innocent life. If you know who you are give up yourself because the Almighty will not forgive you for what you have done.”
Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.