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Mar 23, 2017

Who Deliberately Set Houses on Fire in Santa Elena?

Members of the Vasquez family occupying two houses in Santa Elena, Cayo are picking up the pieces today after their property and belongings were gutted by arson on Wednesday.  The fire started in the lower flat of the building occupied by George Vasquez and his children and spread quickly to the adjacent property occupied by Denrick Vasquez. All in all, losses are estimated that a total of eighty-five thousand dollars. The elder Vasquez says while Thursday’s arson wiped him out, there had been previous attempts to destroy his home. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Just before two p.m. on Wednesday, a fire broke in the lower flat of a two storey wooden and concrete house on George Price Boulevard in Santa Elena Town. Within minutes, the blaze consumed the structure and spread to the upper flat of a second concrete house located in the same yard, leaving a family of five and another relative without a roof over their heads. Today, the Vasquez family was sifting through the charred rubble for zincs and wooden stilts to recover and built back what they’d lost.

 

George Vasquez

George Vasquez, Fire Victim

“Between one to two, me and my wife were upstairs because it was a downstairs and upstairs structure. And my daughter that lives in the front here called us and said “Dad, fire downstairs.” And when I ran downstairs it was already engulfed in flames from the bottom. Me and my daughter, my daughter full a bucket of water and when I rushed to the downstairs because it was locked, we didn’t know that it was already engulfed in flames. And when we opened the door, the fire burst through and burn my hand and she nearly got burnt too. So we had to run and all I said was babe come out of the house because we can’t contain it.”

 

Duane Moody

“We can clearly see that another house in the yard was also scorched, burnt to the upper flat. Talk to us about that.”

 

George Vasquez

“The house is owned by my ex sister-in-law. And the fire just went from my structure to the next.”

 

Luckily, Vasquez’s three kids were at school at the time of the inferno and no one was hurt. But unfortunately, nothing could have been saved and the family lost everything in the blaze.

 

George Vasquez

“It would be from their good heart to assist me because there are a lot of people that know me and if they want to assist, I don’t even have my bank account because everything was burnt.”

 

Duane Moody

“So nothing was saved?”

 

George Vasquez

“Only the clothes that me and my wife and kids have on our back.”

 

Duane Moody

“So where are you guys going to stay now?”

 

George Vasquez

“Well right now we are staying…my daughter lives here. And we are just staying here for right now.”

 

But according to Vasquez, this is not the first time that an attempt has been made to burn down the house; however, this time around, the arsonist was successful. An ongoing land dispute is believed to be the root of the inferno.

 

George Vasquez

“We did out it the first time and the second time was in this structure here and the third time it was there. But this time they really succeeded, we couldn’t do anything about it.”

 

Duane Moody

“Any idea as to why someone would want to take what you have, to do something like this?”

 

George Vasquez

“Well I wouldn’t want to go there and point fingers, but I think…we don’t have an idea who did it. But what I can say is I applaud the police because they did a quick response yesterday.”

 

Duane Moody

“Do you guys have any quarrels with anyone for someone to have wanted to do this or to try to burn down unu place?”

 

George Vasquez

“Well Duane, I live here for sixteen years and my wife and I have no problem with no one.”

 

But while police responded within minutes of the blaze, Vasquez says that there was a delay with firefighters extinguishing the blaze. That aside, he is asking for assistance to recover his life’s work that went up in flames.

 

George Vasquez

“When they reached here, there was no water in the tank so probably they could have saved that other structure because mine was already gone.”

 

The estimated loss is sixteen thousand in household items and the house is valued at approximately forty-five thousand dollars; neither was insured. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

If anyone would like to assist the family, George Vasquez can be contacted at 650-1579.

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