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May 17, 2017

Audubon Building Fire in Crooked Tree Now Confirmed to be Arson

It was widely suspected that the weekend fire at the Belize Audubon Society’s Education Center in Crooked Tree was arson.  A completed investigation by fire officials has now confirmed that someone deliberately set the place on fire. It is well-known that in the past, there has been conflict between some residents and the Audubon over fishing rights and the hunting of wildlife, which according to the Forestry Act is not permitted within the protected area. And while the management at Audubon contend that there has been no recent conflict, arsonists targeted the center.  The National Fire Service’s Orin Smith explains that a trailer was used to start the fire.

 

Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Station Manager, National Fire Service

“There were trailers found on the step leading to a verandah. Trailers are usually devices—whether liquid or materialized—that is used to lead a fire into an area you want it to go.  And that was discovered on one of the staircase that led to a verandah and eventually into the structure itself.”

 

Reporter

“How unusual is the use of trailers? We know there are many incendiary devices, but it’s the first time I’ve heard of trailers being used. Is it indicative of a well-planned or coordinated effort to burn down this building?”

 

Orin Smith

“Many of the incendiary fires that occur are due to some grievances between one of both parties and it leads to one party taking action. For instances, some of the fires in the city here that are incendiary, we observe that there are times when garbage is being used, lit near the structure to burn the structure. There are times when couples argue and clothes are used; either piled in bed, in chair, and burned. In other cases, some people use flammable and combustible liquids to trail the fire where they want. Others may use some other material to do so.”

 

This information has been passed on to the Police Department where a criminal investigation has begun. 

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