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Feb 22, 2018

Fire Claims 2 Houses in Frederick Street

Back to the city where even as police were processing the crime scene at Pregnant Alley, a fire broke just off Hyde’s Lane in the city. It started at a wooden house and quickly spread to another building before the Fire Department could contain the blaze. While Yolanda Ramos and Michael Rosado were not at home when the fire began inside the lower flat of the their two-storey house, their neighbour Agatha Gonzalez and her two children were inside the upper flat of the adjacent house. Luckily they escaped unhurt, but their houses were destroyed. News Five’s Duane Moody reports. 


Duane Moody, Reporting

Around seven-thirty on Wednesday night, a fire broke inside the lower flat of a two-storey wooden house in Frederick Alley, belonging to Yolanda Ramos and Michael Rosado, who are away at the moment in Cancun, Mexico. Within minutes, the fire spread throughout the house and as firefighters responded to the inferno, the roof would come crashing down.


Voice of: Chadwick Tingling, Resident

“I wasn’t at home, my wife gave me a call and when I came I saw a crowd of people within the vicinity. Upon reaching home, it was out of control. I was frightened and I was looking for my family, but they were safe. So I started by helping the firemen with the hose and stuff. When I reached, I saw the first house which was on fire first fell down to the ground with the roof on top of it so the fire was actually under the roof. Then these guys were trying to hose it down, but they couldn’t get under the roof so they were trying to stop the fire from on top of the roof, but that is where the problem was cause they couldn’t stop it. So it went out of the control due to the breeze as well.”


In fear that the fire would further spread to their houses, residents formed a bucket brigade and assisted the responding firefighters with extinguishing the blaze. One resident says that the second house, where Agatha Gonzalez and her two sons lived, could have been saved; but by all accounts the department wasn’t prepared for the disaster.


Voice of: Chadwick Tingling

“These firefighters could have done better by moving faster, by being vigilant in their jobs. I mean you can’t be bringing hose and no water. That’s totally impossible. Yes we all make mistakes and nothing goes according to how we should do it at times, but within situations like this, I mean come on, we have to be more prepared. The house that is next door wouldn’t have gotten caught if these guys could have moved faster. I’m being honest. These guys had two trucks within the area and the second house hadn’t even been caught yet. So they had ample time to do something. They should have wet the house as much, but the lamping to me dah weh cause the next house to get outta control.”


But the National Fire Service says that they responded to the area following a call from the police department; by that time, both structures were already on fire. While there is room for improvement in equipment, Station Manager Orin Smith says that they had to seek alternative source of water from the nearby canal on Kelly Street.


Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Station Manager, National Fire Service

“We had some delay with the initial water discharge on the ground. Eventually we ironed that out and we did discharge water on ground. The concept is that when the truck arrives on scene, which is impractical. We only have one tank on the truck and the tank has a limited capacity. And based on the amount of water you discharge per minute, it takes the time that tank of water will last and it will last anywhere from one minute to three minutes. The public does not understand that concept. They would believe that ten minutes is minimum that they expect water to be discharged, which is really not practical unless we deliberately discharge at the very minimum with one branch, which by ten you’d end up with an entire block being lost. So there will be those little glitches, and they have to be controlled to an extent, but your best preparation will never work out the way you want it to?”



“And sir regarding the hose…a lot of people said there were holes in the hose. Is that from pulling it, I guess, on rough terrain?”


Orin Smith

“Yes, we did notice a number of hose discharging water. That is an issue we are working out internally.”


It is not known what the cause of the fire is because all the electrical wiring in the house was missing. Police and firefighters continue to investigate the incident.


Orin Smith

“Preliminary investigation reveals that the fire occurred on the lower rear of that structure; the cause of which could not be determined. A credible ignition source could not be identified.”


Alejandro Cowo

ASP Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Belize City

“Both houses were extensively damaged and the cause of fire cannot be established at this moment. I know that the fire personnel are there trying to see if it was intended or if it was some kind of electrical that cause the fire on the Rosado residence that spread to the other house.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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