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Jan 26, 2011

Elderly woman perishes in fire; 15 year old boy tried to rescue her

A house fire broke out at G.S. Street off Jane Usher Boulevard; normally the story is about a family that needs a place to stay since beds and furniture are often lost.  But sadly this fire ended tragically for an elderly woman. Eighty-one year old Olivia Supal lived alone in a small green wooden two bedroom house. And though there were no family members at the home, there were courageous neighbors who risked limb and life to save her. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

A small wooden house was engulfed in flames about 11 on Tuesday night.  The homeowner, eighty one year old Olivia Supal lost her life in the tragedy.  It is alleged that Supal may have passed away before the fire gutted the building. Supal’s neighbors, a fifteen year old boy and a friend, ran into the house, on instinct, to save her.

Julian Diego, Risked Life to Save Neighbor

Julian Diego

“Mi neighbor cross deh, he run come dah my house and holla fire deh cross ya. And so I jump outta my bed cause I done mi deh the sleep and I seh what, Miss Bunz house deh on fire and dah she one. So we run come and we buss open the door and ih mi deh di stand up over deh, but it look like she mi done dead already. And then I holla Miss Bunz, but ih neva respond so I halla oh my god. And dash water pan ah make ih neva get burn up bad. And then the ceiling thing start drop when we start come in but this place was already in a gulf of fire. We neva wah get burn and bally almost get chop too. When we try dash water, I run because the fire just blow out and bally stay deh and then just run gone. And then Miss Buzs gone and I left because I start look fi cry because the way how I stand up and watch how the lady perish. Say I coulda mi save ahn, but I know I couldn’t ah mi save ahn because the fire so all I coulda mi do dah dash water pan ah mek di lady no burn bad.”

Joan Mariano Diego

Joan Mariano Diego, Neighbor of Olivia Supal

“Miss Bunz da mi wah lady weh jovial, ih eighty odd years of age, but you wouldn’t know ih eighty odd because you see ahn everyday going around doing her daily chores. The last time I see her yesterday afternoon when I gwen dah work after eleven, h wave from through ih window as usual. Hi Miss Bunz and ih go long.”

According to Joan Diego, Julian’s mother, this was the third of three fires at the home. The first on a table in the bedroom and the second in the hall. But because of the late hour, they were asleep and unable to respond in time for the third.

Joan Mariano Diego

“Ih noh have electricity for the past five years or more and we mi di try get help for ah fi get light for her or at least a drop of water because ih neva had light or water ina ih house for the past five years. From the time we come live back yah, we find that out.”

Jose Sanchez

“So does she have specific areas where she would put candles?”

Joan Mariano Diego

“Yes, she uses candles every night. Every night ih have to deh out the buy candles. That dah weh ih use ina ih house as ih main source of light.  Dah no di first time the house ketch fire sake ah di same candle. But the frist time when ih ketch fire, well me and my children managed to out it.”

Jose Sanchez

“Where was the candle in that situation for the first fire?”

Joan Mariano Diego

“In the room so the room mi ketch fire ina the first time. She was trapped inside, but we manage fi mi out it. The second time, the candle was on the table and the candle drop, ketch pan wah curtain and almost ketch the house fire, but we manage fi get ahn out. This yah time now, when ih ketch dah eleven o’clock already and we already mi deh di sleep, so we couldn’t save her last night. Maybe it could have been the smoke strangled her.”

Jose Sanchez

“You’ve been in her house before. Does she have a lot of property? Was anything salvageable? Did you save anything?”

Joan Mariano Diego

“We coulda mi save ih stove. Ih had good lee amount ah things ina ih house. But everything lost, everything lost, everything.”

Jose Sanchez

“You’re fifteen years old; you could have lost your life. What made you come into this burning house?”

Julian Diego

“Because Miss Bunz I know she long time. She is a person weh if she have it and thing she wah give way. And so like all ah we round ya just watch fi di lady.”

Jose Sanchez

“You do realize you do something heroic. Even though she passed away, you’re a hero. You put your safety out of the way for the benefit of someone else. Do you realize that?”

Julian Diego


Jose Sanchez

“And you did it in instinct?”

Julian Diego

“Just an instinct. Mi frighten too. I neva wah the lady dead cause the way she stand up there and watch her burn and can’t help her.”

Jose Sanchez

“In terms of family, did she have anybody who use to come look for her?”

Joan Mariano Diego

“Occasionally ih got wah nephew weh come look for ahn, ocassional.But most of the time dah we di neighbors weh deh around would be the ones fi check on weh di happen.”

Jose Sanchez

“Now let me ask you, has any family member come around?”

Joan Mariano Diego

“Well from mawning, from last night to now, no, we noh see nobody as yet.”

Other than a burning candle, poverty and the lack of a system that can provide care for the elderly may have contributed to Supal’s death. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Supal’s body was transported to the morgue pending the arrival of relatives.

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13 Responses for “Elderly woman perishes in fire; 15 year old boy tried to rescue her”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    May the GOOD LORD BLESS Olivia’s soul……………………….

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    As much as this story highlights the flaws we have in terms of care for the elderly, hats off to Julian, we are proud of you kid, you are a reminder to us that we still have wonderful young people in the city.


    My heart is full after reading this very sad story. God bless her soul and look out for the brave youth who tried to render aid to her in her time of distress. May God also bless him always …

  4. haiely miranda says:

    I know them they my family i feel so sorry for the old lady that is so sad i dont understand how people can abandoned their families like that but my cousins them hopefully god bless them for helping the lady out with few things thats how human being should live like people not animals

  5. queenelizabeththe4th says:

    Proud of you Julian!! You are a hero, and yes it’s so sad for the Miss Olivia Supal, such tradegy,
    I wonder if she didn’t have some family member that could have assisted her, instead of candles maybe those hurricane lamp could have work for her.
    Poor thing, may her soul rest in peace.

  6. belizeanpride says:

    i would suggest that the city council reward this kid with some school supplies for the bravery attempt he did and the heart of a good citizen for helping and elderly person. come on city council pay some gratitude seeing that we havesome good hearted young citizen in the crime ridden city. Bravo Julian may your days be filled with prosperity and keep that good heart for helping better this community.


    Even though this is a tragic story good can come from it . Lets hope young Julian get to meet the Prime Minister and he is given a medal for bravery. Thanks Julian for showing courage and hopefully other youths will start being more heroic than being trigger pullers.

  8. Darlene says:

    Very sad story, I do not understand why the government does not have some sort of assistant program for the elderly. This is very sad.

  9. beli says:

    the boy should be awarded at the DO the RAIT THING campaign tha tthe police departmetn has. or the fire service should invite him to be part of their camps….someone needs to make sure this poor boy also receives some training. he has a good heart, so steer him in a direction that shows being good has its own rewards…he’s in a tough neighborhood.

  10. boots says:

    The GOB should do something for elders in this type of condition .

  11. shock says:

    Good lord, look how much American influence is on this society, including the gangs. The boy did what a caring child/person should do for another human being in need. Now he has to be name a hero/ meet the Priminister and get all kind of goodies given to him. I’m sure this was not in his mind when he put his life on the line, he only wanted to help the poor unfortunate soul. Let him get on with his life as usual. Cast thy bread upon the waters and after many days it will return according to the Bible.

  12. The People Had Enough says:

    I hate sounding like am preaching; however no one wants to believe even though all the signs are right in front of our very eyes, “Are they waiting for anything except the Hour, to come to them suddenly? But its Signs have already come!” (Al-Qur’an, Surah Muhammad)

    - Knowledge will be taken away (by the death of people of knowledge), and ignorance will prevail.
    - Wine (intoxicants, alcohol) will be drunk in great quantities.
    - Illegal sexual intercourse will become widespread.
    - Earthquakes will increase.
    - Time will pass more quickly.
    - Tribulations (fitan) will prevail.
    - Bloodshed will increase.
    - A man will pass by the grave of another and wish he was in the latter’s place.
    - Trustworthiness will be lost, i.e. when authority is given to those who do not deserve it.
    - People will gather for prayer, but will be unable to find an imam to lead them.

  13. BZNinCALI says:

    belizeanpride, I hope they offer to put him in school & pay his tuition, I believe this child has a job.

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