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May 14, 2012

17 homeless after Guerrero Street Fire

Seventeen persons have been left without a roof over their heads after the two-storey wooden and cement structure they once called home was gutted by fire. The upper flat of the house that was located on Guerrero Street burst into flames sometime after two on Saturday morning. Three families that occupied the building lost all their belongings. Freelance reporter Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A two storey structure once stood at number four Guerrero Street off Kraal Road on South Side Belize City. Early Saturday morning a fire gutted the building that was home to three families. The blaze started from a lit candle that was left unattended.

 

Benisford Matura

Benisford Matura, Operations Officer, National Fire Service

“Fire service got a call for a fire at # 4 Guerrero Street. We immediately dispatched and on arrival we saw a two storey building—wooden top and cement bottom—totally engulfed in flames. We got into operation and approximately half an hour time we got it under control and final extinguishment about two hours after.”

 

Duane Moody

“What was the cause of the fire?”

 

Benisford Matura

“After extinguishment and we did our interviews with the owner and occupier and we did our analysis, we found that the occupier upstairs, Miss August, they didn’t have any power to the building so they used candles. She left on a candle in the bathroom and that’s what started it. All our fire patterns and stuff lead towards that area and that was where it started. Between the two-storey building you have seventeen people now that are homeless.”

 

Three families, seventeen persons total—mostly minors—left without a home. Victims, Kimberly Gibson and Lisa Bennett, say they were in deep slumber when they were heard a ruckus upstairs and realized the house was on fire. They escaped with nothing except the clothes on their backs.

 

Kimberly Gibson, Fire Victim

Kimberly Gibson

“I mi di sleep and I just hear noise upstairs so I mi think somebody was fighting so I out off my fan so I coulda mi hear everything and I heard fire and so I jump up and I just took my son and we come out.”

 

Duane Moody

“What are you going to do now since everything was burnt to a crisp?”

 

Kimberly Gibson

“Well I don’t know because I have to start from square one now back. so it kinda rough.”

 

Lisa Bennett

Lisa Bennett, Fire Victim

“Bout after two so I hear a commotion because I was sleeping and I hear noise outside and so I say dah weh di happen because I am not a hard sleeper. So I run outside and I look upstairs by the bathroom over my kitchen and I see the house on fire. And so I run back inside and I tell my common law husband to come out come out Zane, but by the time we come out fi try save some of fi we things, the fire already take over the place. Everybody lost everything that we had like clothes and my things for my house. Burn down everything. If you can see everything burn down. Nobody get nothing, we noh get nothing out of the place.”

 

Duane Moody

“Were the items insured inside the house?”

 

Lisa Bennett

“No nothing was insured.”

 

The families are asking for assistance to get back on their feet.

 

Lisa Bennett

“I woulda want the public, anybody weh coulda help me and my friends them, to try help we get back wah lee something to put we back pan our foot; anything. I won’t call nothing; just anything that we can start.”

 

Kimberly Gibson

“I woulda really need wah lee help because I have two kids, they noh have no pa or anything and we woulda really need wah lee help because they are going to school and everything burn and it just rough.”

 

The fire started in the upper flat which was occupied by Dena August and her eight children. They too lost everything and would like some assistance. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

If anyone would like to assist the families, they can contact Lisa Bennett at 623-0687, Kimberly Gibson at 630-1534 or Dena August at 620-3369.

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