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May 17, 2017

Palacio Family Displaced by Arson of Home on East Canal

A fire which has now been determined to be a case of arson ripped through two buildings early on Tuesday night in the City. Five family members were displaced as a result of the blaze which was seemingly the result of a dispute between the Palacio relatives. The affected persons, however, wish not to take action, but are seeking assistance to get them back on their feet. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Disaster struck the Palacio family just before eight o’clock on Tuesday night. Today, the family was clearing away the remnants of what they once called home, and was too distraught to speak.  Billowing flames could be seen in a distance along East Collet Canal as the inferno ripped through two wooden structures in the yard, displacing five persons and a speaker repair business in the process. The National Fire Service, with a branch two blocks away on Dolphin Street, responded within minutes, but nothing could be saved.

 

Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Station Manager, National Fire Service

“The National Fire Service received information from the police of a structural fire at #7 North Creek Belize City. On arrival on the scene, found were two structures already engulfed in flames; an approximately twelve by fifteen bungalow wooden structure and an elevated ten by fourteen wooden structure, approximately ten feet off ground…engulfed in flames. The National Fire Service went into operation to extinguish the fire; both structures were later extinguished.”

 

An investigation carried out by fire officials has since determined that the fire was arson. It had been set by a family member in the bungalow house, following a dispute within the Palacio family yard. It spread quickly through the wooden structure and extended to the adjacent elevated wooden house.

 

Orin Smith

“Basically yes, in Creole people normally say it is arson. We use the term incendiary. Information we had receive is that there was a dispute in the family and eventually led to the structures being lit on fire.”

 

Reporter

“What was the incendiary device used?”

 

Orin Smith

“No evidence of the incendiary device. A person doesn’t have to literally use any flammable or combustible substance. I can use any heating tool to basically light a fire. A simple lighter that everybody walks around with can be used to ignite any bedding material, curtains or any other flammable or combustible materials within the house.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, has the investigation shown where the fire started from?”

 

Orin Smith

“It was in the front structure, which is basically one room.”

 

Station Manager Orin Smith confirms that the police also responded because residents began hurling missiles at the firemen at the scene. He says that firefighting can get rather tricky when structures are built in close range to each other.

 

Orin Smith

“I can confirm that I was on the scene. They were being stoned by individuals who lived adjacent to where the structures were burning and police officers did indeed get after them and put an end to it.”

 

Reporter

“What was the cause for this to have happened from your vantage point?”

 

Orin Smith

“I guess they were disgruntled fearing that their structure might have gone up in flame. That didn’t happen; the response time was within two minutes from the time we received the call. So the response time was very good, yet on our arrival both structures were already on fire. When the structures are pretty much clustered like that; it does make it a bit challenging. Your teams are usually stretched thin in protecting exposure; to confine the fire and then later extinguish. Another challenging point was that the firemen literally went across the creek to actually get where the fire was.”

 

The structures and household items were not insured and the family is asking for assistance. Duane Moody for News Five.

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