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Jan 9, 2017

What Caused Fire in P.G.?

Two buildings went up in flames in Punta Gorda over the weekend; one was completely destroyed and the other partially damaged by the blaze. A couple who resided in one of the buildings was reportedly involved in a dispute and the cause of the fire is being investigated, but arson is not ruled out. News Five’s Isani Cayetano traveled south and files this report.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The National Fire Service is investigating the cause of a fire that decimated a wooden structure in Punta Gorda Town at the start of the weekend.  Sometime after six o’clock on Friday evening, neighbors were alerted to a fire at a residence on Voice of America Road.  By the time authorities were notified and a team of firemen was dispatched to the scene, the entire building was already engulfed in flames.  According to an eyewitness, who asked to remain unnamed, she immediately informed other residents in the area upon noticing the blaze.

 

Eyewitness

“I was right outside when I heard a commotion from that place and then when I checked again in like five minutes time the fire was already up.  Then I called my neighbor and I told him about the fire, he said that he would call the fire department and then the fire department responded in like twenty minutes time but the house was already burning down.”

 

No one was at home at the time of the fire; however, it is believed that the couple who occupied the property had been involved in argument sometime prior.

 

Eyewitness

“At that time the owners, the people living in the house had just moved out in another location.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“I understand that you are fairly new to this neighborhood, the VOA area.  As far as you know, how long were these people living there before moving out?”

 

Eyewitness

“I am not sure, you’d have to ask other neighbors.  We just moved in too.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now you mentioned that the fire department responded within a twenty-minute period.  Were they equipped with water, the hose and all the necessary stuff to have fought this fire?”

 

Eyewitness

“Yes, they had lots of hoses.  They went and connected to the other neighborhood.  Lots of people were there helping as well.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What else can you tell us about this fire?  Did they tell you that it was an electrical fire?  Did they tell you that it may have been a case of arson?  Was there any kind of talking surrounding the fire that you would have picked up on?”

 

Eyewitness

“Well they said that, I don’t know what really happened but I heard they were having an argument.”

 

This afternoon, we spoke with Operations Officer Orin Smith at the fire department in Belize City.

 

Orin Smith, Operations Officer, National Fire Service

“On Friday, January sixth, 2017 at approximately 6:28 p.m., the National Fire Service Punta Gorda Branch received then responded to reports of a structural fire at a West Street, Punta Gorda Town address.  On arrival at the scene a thirty-by-thirty wooden structure with zinc roofing was seen engulfed in flames.  A second, adjacent concrete structure was seen with one of the fascia board on fire.  Following a brief size up, the fire department went into operation to extinguish the fire.  The fire was later brought under control and extinguished.  As a result of the fire, the concrete structure received damage to one side of its fascia.  The structure where the fire originated was destroyed by the fire.  No one was at home at the time of the fire.  Investigation into the cause of the fire continues.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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