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May 9, 2011

Family believes arsonist burnt their home

While the forest fires are rampant, in the old capital, a thick cloud of smoke spread from a property near the Haulover Bridge and drifted into parts of the City at the start of the weekend. The fire broke just before eight o’clock on Friday and quickly destroyed the building, which was owned by Liston McCord, who was extradited to the US over eight years ago. The house was unoccupied at the time, except for two pit bulls on guard. Firemen were on the defensive soon enough but could not contain the inferno. According to the caretaker, hundreds of thousands of dollars went up in the smoke. News Five’s Isani Cayetano, was at the scene of the fire and files this report.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Friday night inferno completely destroyed a two storey residence located about fifty yards off the road near mile four on the Northern Highway.  Firemen fought desperately to put out the blaze but even with the heavy water pressure applied by their industrial strength hoses to the burning structure their attempt was futile.  The property belonged to Patricia McCord-Kelly.

Voice of: Patricia McCord-Kelly, Fire Victim

“I just received a call from my brother telling me that my house was on fire and a police mobile came and picked me up and brought me out here to see this.”

Isani Cayetano

“You were mentioning earlier that you believe that this was a case of arson.  Was there a previous incident that occurred recently that leads you to believe this?”

Patricia McCord-Kelly

“Last week we had a young man staying here watching the place for us and he said that he was awoken by the smoke and when he got downstairs he saw somebody riding off but by the time he got [down] he could waste his time to see the person because he was busy outing the fire.  Now this is what happened.”

McCord-Kelly lost everything in the fire including a pair of pit bull terriers that were chained to her verandah.  The house was initially owned by her brother, Liston McCord, who was spirited out of the country by DEA officials in April 2003 to New York City where he faced a slew of drug trafficking charges.

Isani Cayetano

“Can you tell me more or less what’s the value of the property that’s being lost to this fire?”

Patricia McCord-Kelly

“Thousands, hundreds of thousands.  My brother invested hundreds thousands.  He was intending to open a bar downstairs before he was extradited to the States and all my household items are in the upstairs, three bedrooms worth.”

Isani Cayetano

“Were you in the neighborhood at the time of the fire or were you in Belize City?”

Patricia McCord-Kelly

“Buttonwood Bay with my mom. She is sick.”

In the heat of the night embers floated overhead like a swarm of fireflies lighting up the sky as the intense flames devoured the entire plycem and wooden home.  Firefighters trained their hoses in the direction of the blaze but soon after they ran out of water.

Isani Cayetano

“What leads you to believe that this is a case of arson?  I know you mentioned last week someone was in the area and tried to light the property on fire.  Do you know what would be the motive behind this?”

Patricia McCord-Kelly

“None.  None whatsoever.  I have no problems, no problems with nobody.  I have no idea.”

Isani Cayetano

“Did you have basic…”

Patricia McCord-Kelly

“No insurance.  No insurance. No insurance.”

Isani Cayetano

“…electricity and any other amenities?”

Patricia McCord-Kelly

“Everything.  Everything.  Three bedrooms’ worth [is] up in smoke.”

Isani Cayetano

“Does this now leave you homeless or do you have anywhere else to go at this point?”

Patricia McCord-Kelly

“I take care of my mom.  She has stroke so I’m staying there with her but my children’s father who was staying here.  I don’t know.”

McCord-Kelly lived at the residence along with her common-law-husband and four kids.  News Five contacted the National Fire Service today but officials deferred comment citing a discrepancy in the statement that was initially recorded. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Police have been unable to determine if it was a case of arson.

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