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Jan 26, 2018

Accidental Oven Blast Kills Baker, Injures Brother

Alfonso Moralez Jr.

Two brothers were caught in an explosion inside their family bakery in Sand Hill, Belize District, this morning. One of them is dead and the other is hospitalized following an accidental blast that happened inside an oven in the kitchen. The IN-n-Out Bakery has been in operation for more than five years, it’s the first time they’ve had an accident, and it turned out to be a deadly one. Doctors tried to save the father of three, but he didn’t make it. News Five’s Andrea Polanco shares more in the following story.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Fifty-nine-year-old Alfonso Moralez Junior lost his life in an explosion inside his brother’s bakery in Sandhill Village. Alfonso and his brother Alberto Moralez, who is the owner of In-N-Out Bakery, were inside the kitchen fixing an oven when something went very wrong. A neighbor recalls hearing a loud bang–an explosion nearby.

 

Vanecia Gongora

Vanecia Gongora, Neighbour

“I was sitting at home in my hall on my phone and my daughter was on the floor playing. I heard an explosion but I wasn’t sure what it was. She got up and she said, ‘mommy, what was that?’ I said, ‘what did you hear?’ And she said, I heard a ‘boom boom’ and I told her I heard that, too.”

 

The explosion left the two brothers badly injured. They were rushed down to the BATSUB medical center at the B.D.F. compound – but Alfonso died from massive head injuries. Alberto remains hospitalized with injuries to the face and burns to the body. Their brother, Alejandro, wasn’t at the In-N-Out Bakery when the incident happened; he shares what he knows of the deadly explosion.

 

Alberto Moralez

Alejandro Moralez, Brother of Deceased

“They said they were trying to light an oven and it exploded and he was rushed down right here at BATSUB because he went unconscious and they tried half an hour to bring him back and he didn’t make it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“How is your other brother doing? Did you get to speak with him?”

 

Alejandro Moralez

“I spoke to him and he sounds quite shaken up. He was about to take an internal exam; a CT Scan but I haven’t heard any outcome on that as yet. But I hope he is going to be ok.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, he got an injury to the head?”

 

Alejandro Moralez

Alejandro Moralez

“Yeah he got a gush on the forehead. I think he got seventeen stitches. I am not sure what caused it but he got injured very bad.”

 

The National Fire Service was called out to investigate the explosion. Deputy Fire Chief explains what caused the accidental blast – it’s what some would call a freak accident. The brothers were inside the kitchen fixing an oven but when they tried to test the oven to see if it was working, a sudden blast went off which caused the oven door to slam open and it struck Alfonso with a deadly blow to the head.

 

Benisford Matura

Benisford Matura, Deputy Fire Chief

“Apparently, one of the burners was left on and the butane was flowing and I guess he didn’t realize it and he struck a match to – because he was fixing it – light the oven because he was testing it out and that is when this explosion happened in the bakery. Unfortunately, the explosion, because of the explosion, the door of the oven slammed with the force of the explosion and struck Alfonso Moralez in the head, fatally killing him.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“This kind of incident here was totally accidental?”

 

Benisford Matura

“Yes it was accidental. The information we had gotten was that they were repairing or trying to fix one of the ovens and in that process there was a leak and they weren’t aware so when they light the oven to see if what they had fixed is working, that is when the explosion happened. It was hooked up to a butane tank but they were repairing, testing, turning off and I believe they forgot to turn off the flow of the fuel to the burner and when they did, they took that match to see what they had fixed, the oven itself was already flooded with butane. And when the butane flooded like that, it is a sudden explosion, almost like a freak accident, it slammed the door out and it is a metal door so it hit him in the face.”

 

Matura explains that this kind of incident is not like other fires they would respond to. This onehad a sudden fireball that burnt out quickly.

 

Benisford Matura

“When you have butane leakage in your stove or oven or anywhere and it happens to ignite, it will be one sudden blast of fire and that is it. Because the butane that is leaking it’s burnt out and will not be a constant burning. When you have a constant burning now is if your butane tank is leaking from the valve and it is on, you have a constant flow and then you will end up with something like a torch because the butane is flowing out and you have a constant flow of fuel. But when it is leakage and it settles, it will be like a sudden fireball and that is it. Whatever material is in the area with a very low ignition temperature may catch fire but it is not something that is consistent.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, in this case, they couldn’t necessarily run away from a fire or something like that because it is just an explosion?”

 

Benisford Matura

“Yes because it is sudden bang. It is just a sudden bang and a ball of fire because whatever butane was leaking had already been burnt away.”

 

Alejandro last saw his brother on Wednesday. He says it’s only been three weeks since Alfonso began to officially work at the bakery. And when he was not there, he was out cycling with the Weekend Warriors.

 

Alejandro Moralez

“Alfonso been with him now, officially, he started working maybe three weeks the most.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“He was also involved, I believe, in cycling – telling us a little about him?”

 

Alejandro Moralez

“He was a cool guy. We rode together in Weekend Warriors. He didn’t worrying about coming in first or last but he was doing it for his health. He was really, really active. He is always on the road working out and very nice person.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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