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Jul 3, 2018

59-Year-Old Woman Loses Home to Fire; Was it Arson?

A fire completely destroyed a plywood home in Belize City on Monday evening. The occupant was not at home at the time of the incident and by the time she arrived at her house, the fire had completely destroyed everything. Fire officials are investigating the blaze and say that while the cause has not been established as yet, they are also exploring the angle of arson. Andrea Polanco has more:

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Just before five o’clock on Monday evening a fire broke out inside a small plywood home on T-Street in Belize City. And within minutes the blaze wiped out everything inside and completely destroyed the structure. The flames were so high that they extended over the fence and almost set this residence on fire – scorching the roof. Neighbor Thelma Martinez was inside her house when the fire started – but quick action helped to save her home.

 

Thelma Martinez, Neighbour

Thelma Martinez

“I smelled smoke and so I decided to disconnect my electricity and secure my gas tank in the yard. So, I decided to come out of the house because it was very close to where the fire was at.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, your roof got scorched a bit – on the corner?”

 

Thelma Martinez

“Yes. It did. It did because of the closeness of the other building that caught fire to my house. We had a few good neighbours – the men came out and they assisted to control the fire on my house before the fire engine came and so when the fire engine came, it controlled the fire.”

 

No one was inside the house at the time of the fire. According to the Fire Officials, the owner was down the street when she found out her house was engulfed in flames. Station Officer Orin Smith says the cause of the fire is not yet known, while they have ruled out electrical because the house didn’t have a source of power, they have not ruled out arson.

 

Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Station Officer, Belize National Fire Service

“On arrival on scene, found was a plywood structure fifteen by twenty in size fully engulfed in flames. That fire destroyed the structure. That structure had one occupant. Investigation revealed that the occupant had only recently left the structure and shortly thereafter learned that structure was on fire. The fire is still presently under investigation and the cause has not yet been determined.”

 

Reporter

“Is there any indication that an incendiary was used and that it was a set fire?”

 

Orin Smith

“The information that we have received is pointing into that direction. However, I am leaving it to the investigators to conclude their investigation and get the facts.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Sir, that house didn’t have any electricity, so you’ve ruled out that as a possible cause?”

Orin Smith

“Correct.”

 

Reporter

“And she said she didn’t own any candles – she used a battery powered light?”

 

Orin Smith

“We have received that information as well. All indications with all threats received is pointing into an incendiary fire but we are still waiting the outcome of the investigation itself.”

 

Reports are that the owner of the house, fifty-nine-year-old Hilda Jones, had received multiple threats because someone wanted her out of the home.

Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.

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