Carters Upholstery burns but business still open
While the plane was hovering above the Western Highway, its pilots may have noticed a fire on the ground, but it wasn’t its landing strip. A local business located on Cemetery Road, near the entrance to the Western Highway, caught on fire just before midnight. News Five’s Jose Sanchez spoke to Darrell Carter, the owner of Carter’s Custom Upholstery, who was back at work today, doing what he does best and that is making furniture.
Jose Sanchez, Reporting
Carters Custom Upholstery at the Western Highway entrance to Belize City was gutted in blaze on Thursday night. A concerned neighbor sounded the alarm.
“Bout ten to twelve went to the bathroom, I saw a blaze through the glass window and then I get up and I decided to peep and I saw the blaze already took over the back of the building. And so I called the young lady downstairs and my gentleman and I tell ahn that fire, fire over dah Mister Carter’s place so get up make we see. But I never had no credit, but I need to call Mister Carter. And so I borrowed the neighbor phone from downstairs and dah so I got through to my daughter to call her and to tell her if she have Mister Darrel number to tell Mister Darrel to please make he come out cause his place is on fire.”
Businessman Darell Carter sat at his office chair as if it was business as usual. But at least half of his establishment had become just a charred memory.
Darell Carter, Owner, Carter’s Custom Upholstery
“On receiving that call, I called back and the person told me that the building was on fire and so that caused everything to accelerate and by the time I reached here, I found the police and I found the fire department already out on the scenes doing their part and incidentally, I’d like to say thanks to them. But basically that’s where we were on me being notified last night.”
“Looking at the front of the building; it’s a concrete structure—it doesn’t look like something really happened, but how bad is it at the back?”
“Well the factory part of the building has been gutted out. And we are thankful as it could have been worse than that. But because we are also enclaved in this structure, this actually gave us a buffer. But the performance of the fire fighters last night was extraordinary. They did their part in keeping it to where it was.”
“You’ve live across from Mister Carter; you probably know him very well for years.”
Concerned Neighbor of Carters
“Yes about three years now.”
“So it must be pretty hard to see him going through this lost.”
Concerned Neighbor of Carters
“Yes, for sure, it wasn’t me, but then it hurts because the same way it could have happened to me too. So as I see it I know I had to get to him some way to make him come and secure ih thing noh?”
And even with the charred remains at their side, the employees continue to work at their furniture craft.
“We have about eight persons with us at this time before the twenty-four days of Christmas season is really upon us. But we’re open for business today, we’re open tomorrow for business—this is only a damper in our affairs and our spirit of doing things.”
“Are you able to put a monetary figure to the loss?”
“We have asked people who are experts in terms of the value under fire to give us that. We hope to have that possible by the ending of the day.”
“Most importantly, is your building, were your items insured?”
“The items weren’t insured. Basically, it’s a catch twenty-two position. We always tight with the economic situation that is happening in the country right now, but I strongly believe that the building itself which is due to DFC is also covered in that area.”
“When we got here, we met the firefighters, we met the police and one Corporal Jones informed us that he saw somebody running from behind with a container in his hands. So they are looking into the investigation goes on today—but they are looking into that part of the story as well.”
Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.