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May 15, 2017

Fire Service Updates on Quallo’s Alley Fire

On Friday, a house in Belize City was destroyed by fire around one-thirty p.m. The town-house style home was occupied by two families, a total of eleven persons.  The families were wiped out of most of their property – only a few items were saved.  An investigation by the National Fire Service has determined that the cause was electrical.  Today, News Five’s Andrea Polanco spoke with the family in whose unit the fire started.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Fire officials say that the cause of the blaze that destroyed this home in Quallos Alley on Friday afternoon was due to an electrical fault. The fire started in this room upstairs – the home of Orloff Scott. It was triggered by a standing fan that was in the bedroom.

 

Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Training Officer, Fire Department

“The outcome of the investigation of fire on Quallos Alley fire has led to the discovery that it occurred as a result of an electrical fault. According to occupants of the residence, just prior to the fire occurring and we had three adults – two males, one female were at the residence at the time. They said that they experienced high voltage – lights brighten, TV brighten and dimmed then went off just prior to the fire occurring. The fire originated in the upper flat south west corner of the upper structure. Investigation reveal that it was a fan that triggered that – burnt out – and eventually started the fire.”

 

Seven members of the Scott family lived in this unit of the cement structure – the unit served as the home of the Scott Family. At the time of the fire two men were inside. Melonie Bowen and her three children lived over in the next unit of the building – two of the children were at home.  Both families lost almost everything.

 

Voice of: Anthony Scott, Fire Victim

“I was at home watching TV, when suddenly the TV went dim and I smelled smoke, jump up and when I look upstairs I run upstairs and the room was on fire. I quickly run downstairs back, out the switch box, grabbed some bucket of water and try to out the fire, but by then the fire was outta control and I had to run outta the house.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Have you guys been able to assess what’s the value?”

 

Voice of: Anthony Scott, Fire Victim

“Dah bout nineteen thousand worth of things just gone like that; burn to ashes.”

 

Melonie Bowen

Melonie Bowen, Fire Victim [File: May 12th, 2017]

“This is so devastating. A couple day ago – ah this is too much for me right now. It is too much. I am going through a lot right now. But I am going to get through it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Talk to us about what you lost as a result of this fire?”

 

Melonie Bowen

“Basically just sleeping – my clothes, the bed, mattress. I just got some groceries and I lost all of that for the baby. I need to actually go in and assess what did I lost or what got burnt or wet. My sofas they are downstairs because it is a split level house. My neighbor lives at the back and I live at the front.”

 

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did you manage to take out anything?”

 

Melonie Bowen

“I couldn’t take out anything. I think my neighbours they took out some of the stuff. But I don’t know until I go and check what is there – what got took out and what got burnt.”

 

The fire spread quickly from one unit to the other – it is believed because of a tar material under this white coating that lines the underside of zinc roofing. The fire caused the tar to melt off and proved to be a challenge and danger not just to the residents, but also to the fire fighters who responded to the scene.

 

Voice of: Anthony Scott

“We mi have to run out of the house sake ah the black stuff weh di drop out of the ceiling, off the zinc.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you feel like that caused it to burn even quicker?”

 

Voice of: Anthony Scott

“Yes. I think dah that cause it fi spread all inna the neighbor house; cause it to gone cross to the neighbor house.”

 

Orin Smith

“The underside of the roof was lined with a tar matting that proves extremely dangerous during a structural fire-fight. My officers who did the firefight explained that on the arrival they saw a black substance pouring from the roof line; at first they thought it was water being discharged from another branch that was coming out with soot but they soon realized that it wasn’t water. It poured on a few of them and it was extremely hot they had explained – all over their helmets. In the future, I would say buildings with those type of materials are extremely dangerous, not just to emergency responders but had there been anyone trapped inside that building while the fire consumed the structure and the tar melted, it would have severely injured or cause the death of that individual.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

If you would like to assist the Scott family, they can be contacted at 605-1185 and the Bowen family at 623-1358.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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