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Feb 12, 2018

Disaster Averted: Flames Gut Ice Cream Truck, Scorch House in King’s Park

The Fire Department’s quick action on Sunday night averted a major disaster on Sixth Street in Belize City. An electrical fire broke on an ice cream truck just as its driver was concluding the day’s work and parking the van. Fortunately, the driver was not injured, but the blaze threatened another van and house nearby. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Around eight o’clock on Sunday night, a fire broke on Sixth Street in the King’s Park area of Belize City. One of the popular Blades Ice Cream truck, owned by William Zhou, went up in flames as the driver was parking the van inside this compound. According to Assistant Fire Chief Benisford Matura, an electrical short in the freezer burst into flames; luckily the driver got out unhurt.

 

Benisford Matura

Benisford Matura, Assistant Fire Chief

“We received a call of a vehicle fire on Sixth Street; our unit from this was the closest so we got dispatched along with the south side unit. Upon arrival, they found a van totally engulfed in flames already. Quick attack got the fire under control. Only the one van was engulfed in flames. We extinguished that fire and then became conscious that there was another van next to it that received minor burns. This van was parked next to a two-storey structure with the downstairs being cement and the upper flat wooden. That got scorched on the upper structure.  Investigation reveals that the vans, while they are parked and not working, because they have a freezer inside them, they are kept plugged in. This one specifically was plugged in and there was a short somewhere within the van itself and that’s what started the fire.”

 

The upper flat is being rented by Nancia Aquino, who was at work at the time of the blaze. She received multiple calls and would later rush to the scene to find firefighters extinguishing the inferno which burnt the rear portion of the house. Aquino says luckily her household items and belongings were spared by the quick response from the national fire service.

 

Nancia Aquino, Tenant

“The first call I got, I couldn’t believe it. And then the second call I get, my girlfriend was crying so I said this is really serious so I called my boss and he send me directly to my house. So when I came I just saw the fire, but luckily it didn’t ketch the entire house or else I would be with nothing right now.”

 

Duane Moody

“I noticed that the back portion of the house is what was really damaged. Was anything inside damaged?”

 

Nancia Aquino

Nancia Aquino

“No, not anything. only the microwave due to the water that they were spraying, but other than that, everything is okay.”

 

Aquino says her gas tank was dangerously close to the blaze; and Matura says that the ice cream trucks also operate with a butane tank that was inside at the time. He says a real tragedy was averted.

 

Benisford Matura

“There was a butane tank involved. This tank is what is used to fuel the van and it was inside the van. Due to our quick response, we got to that and cool it down quick enough so we didn’t get any sort of explosion.  Whosoever made that call to the fire department did the right thing and our quick response and attack was just right enough. Like I said, the wooden structure got scorched but we reached there in time to cover our exposures and make sure that the fire did not spread to the neighborhood.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

While the house is insured, the proprietor William Zhou says the ice cream trucks have third-party insurance only. He estimates the loss at twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars for the vehicles, while an estimate for the damage to the house is pending. 

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