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Sep 28, 2007

Morning fire leaves two Belize City families homeless …

Story PictureJust after eleven this morning the sight of flames, the smell of smoke and the wail of a fire truck struck fear into the hearts of residents living in the Freetown division. And as News Five’s Marion Ali reports, while no one was hurt, tonight two families need your help to rebuild their lives.

Marion Ali, Reporting
When we arrived on the scene fire fighters and volunteers were still battling thick smoke and flames that had engulfed number 5 Nurse Seay Street. Electricity was quickly cut from the building and fire fighters drenched the wooden home but the blaze had already done its damage.

George Murphy, Helped Fight Blaze
“I just pass and I hail mi fren’. I seh ‘aye weh yoh the cook todeh?’, cause I always pass and ask ah weh ih the cook. And ih seh ‘well bwoi ah no the cook right now, ah the clean out.’ And I jus pass an tell ah ‘well ah wah pass back an ah wah halla fi yoh’ and I gone roun’ the lane. By the time I get by Cinderella Plaza I see black smoke an I halla ‘fire deh roun soh, fire deh roun so!’ an when I come back I see the house under blaze and deh the struggle fi get out an me and wah lotta other people we grab some bucket and dip water from outta the drain an try throw it pan the fire…”

Passer-by George Murphy said he tried to help but he was not match for the fire.

George Murphy
“Two bicycle mi deh ina the yard an I run in an I haul they out fi they. I try go ina the house but the flame too hot so I couldn’t gone in cause I mi want see weh I could bring out, even if dah wah piece ah clothes or something, yoh noh. But I noh think they save nothing. They save they life, yoh noh, which is good.”

Doreen McKoy lived on the second floor of the building with her four children. The Belize City mother says she had only just moved into the house a month ago.

Doreen McKoy, Fire Victim
“I live ina the upstairs, when I smell something the burn. An I noh have on nothing the cook, nothing, because I noh cook til ina the evening when mi pickney they come.”

Marion Ali
“But you seh yoh smell smoke?”

Doreen McKoy
“I smell smoke, I smell like something the burn yes. So I the wonder dah weh the burn, between sleep an wake I do wonder dah weh the burn. I hear she halla…”

Marion Ali
“Who da she?”

Doreen McKoy
“Yvonne—ih live downstairs—the holler fire. The place done ina gulfing fire already downstairs. I can’t even walk pan the floor fi my house because ih hot. I only could grab my baby an come out. Can’t save nothing.”

The building’s other tenant, Denton Jenkins, was at work when he got the bad news.

Denton Jenkins, fire victim
“One of my co-workers came by and said he heard it on the radio that there was a house burning at number five Nurse Seay Street. I then asked, because I’m the Operating technician at Universal Health Services, I then asked the supervisor that I might ask to come and see where it was. According to my co-worker it was directly my house because he knows where I live. We work together, he knows directly where I live and so he said ‘Denton it sounds more than likely that it’s your house.’ Upon arriving here I met the Fire Department and saw some fire coming from out of the upstairs. Went in there to see what was wrong, found out that I was burned out.”

The National Fire Service’s Operations Officer Michael Middleton, says even though they arrived on the scene one minute after the first call, there was not much they could do to save the structure.

Michael Middleton, Operations Officer
“We found the fire in the downstairs and because initially it was only one truck we had to make entry downstairs but eventually when the second truck came the fire developed very rapidly and it moved to the upstairs and we continued to fight this fire and had it under control in twenty minutes time.”

Marion Ali
People were complaining out here that they were calling the fire station and your trucks didn’t show up until a while later.

Michael Middleton
“Well I’m not sure of that. I know as soon as we receive a call, the person in the watch room they sound the alarm and we respond immediately. That’s when we respond to a fire.”

Marion Ali
“Can you say where it started from?”

Michael Middleton
“Definitely I know it’s from the downstairs. The rear of the downstairs. “

Marion Ali
“How, what indicates this?”

Michael Middleton
“Where we found the fire in our initial attack, downstairs and to the rear burning up.”

Both families tell News Five that they were unable to save any of their belongings. Up to news time, fire officials were still combing through the evidence to determine the cause of the blaze. Marion Ali for News Five.

If you would like to help Doreen McKoy and her four children, please contact her at Sanitation Enterprises Limited phone number 223-3509. Denton Jenkins and his family can be reached at 623-1567.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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