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Dec 23, 2009

One brother shot; then fire destroys siblings’ home

Story PictureIt was double whammy for two Belize City brothers. One of the siblings was stabbed earlier in the evening and later in the night, a fire destroyed their home. And now police are trying to decipher whether the two incidents are linked. We’ll focus first on the fire, which was reported at around two o’clock this morning on Pelican Street Extension. None of the brothers, Jason or Darwin Phillips, were at their home and it was a neighbour who heard the crackling of wood and got up to discover a full-fledged inferno. She then alerted the neighborhood and fire officials. Marion Ali reports.

Marion Ali, Reporting
This morning fire investigators were combing through the rubble at 7033 Pelican Street Extension to determine the cause of the blaze. The fire gutted the upper flat of the two storey house and all its contents. But the concrete flooring protected the folks who lived on the lower flat from any kind of fire or water damage. But while they cannot yet make a determination, fire officials believe this blaze was deliberately set.

Kenneth Mortis, Training Officer, Nat’l Fire Service
“This fire started from the kitchen – upper portion of the building and on the Fire Department’s arrival, the backdoor to the said kitchen was opened. The brothers are saying that the building was locked to the best of their knowledge. Unconfirmed reports are that this fire is the result of an ‘old beef’ gone bad between the brothers and some person or persons that took place a couple days ago. The possibility is there that it is an arson because we did visit the brother this morning in the hospital but we were unable to speak to him as he was undergoing treatment. But we’re not leaving no stones unturned in terms of the cause. We are working closely with the Police Department to see how we can conclude the exact nature of this fire noh. Arson just doesn’t mean that somebody will throw a pint of gas on the building; it could mean that a breaking and entering occurred and something was lit inside the building so we’re looking at all aspects.”

Police are also investigating whether the fire and an stabbing earlier of one of the home owners, twenty year old Darwin Phillips, were related.

Marion Ali
“I think fire investigators are saying it was arson involved. Do police link that arson to the stabbing?”

Clement Palacio
“Well, I’m not sure if it was linked but we are investigating a fire along with the officials from the Fire Department. So that is being investigated. Whether or not it was linked, I think it would be too premature for me to say.”

Reporting for News Five, Marion Ali.

The building was insured with Saint John’s Credit Union for sixty thousand dollars and the Phillips brothers lost household appliances worth around twenty thousand dollars.

As we told you, there was a stabbing before the fire, which is the reason why the brothers were not at home. Police say that shortly after nine last night Darwin Philips had a misunderstanding Michael Young, which landed them both at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Young is recovering from cut wounds to the left side of neck and right hand while Phillips has cut wounds to the left side of head, left arm, left shoulder and left side of his face. Police say the altercation happened one street away from where Philips lived. And now, both men are facing criminal charges for the showdown.

Clement Palacio, Police Press Officer
“What happened was that there was a misunderstanding between both and they inflicted stab wounds to each other. One person is hospitalized in stable condition—both persons are in stable condition. I think there are counter charges. Therefore, what is going to happen is I think both persons are going to be charged.”

Marion Ali
“Where did this stabbing take place?”

Clement Palacio
“Somewhere in the Raccoon Street Extension area.”

Charges are expected against both men tomorrow.

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