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Sep 5, 2012

Diana’s Fruit Shop burnt to the ground

The owner of a small business returned to it early this morning to find it had been destroyed by fire. Some time on Tuesday night, Diana’s Fruit shop on Central American Boulevard went up in flames.  Juana Sarmienta says she lost produce, appliances and the structure. She believes someone broke into it and then set it on fire. News Five’s Andrea Polanco has that story.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

This is all that is left from Diana’s Fruit Shop on Central American Boulevard. For six years, the small business supplied stores and residents of the area, but on Tuesday, shortly before mid-night, a fire gutted the ply wood walls. Juana Sarmienta says when they arrived to open shop at six this morning, they found the business completely destroyed by fire. Today, the family was cleaning up the remnants of the night’s blaze.

 

Voice of: Juana Sarmienta

“Yesterday I shut like seven-thirty and then I gone home; she gone home too and everybody gone home and I nuh know weh happen. I come this morning come work and I si everything light up.”

 

And so it was that upon the fire service response, the building, a twenty by fifteen wooden structure, was almost covered in flames.

 

Benisford Matura

Benisford Matura, Belize National Fire Service

“Upon arrival, the entire front of the building was engulfed in flames. We got into operation and extinguished the fire. Our investigations reveal that the fire started in the southern section of the building and made its way across.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Has investigation revealed what exactly caused the fire, because I believe no one lived in there; was just a business and it was locked up?”

 

Benisford Matura

“Presently we are still in the investigations. We have two avenues we are looking at because they did their cooking in there, while they come to spend the day when they are selling fruits so they have a little stove. Upon our arrival, the area where the fire started is close to the kitchen so we are still looking at the possibility of it starting in that area and other avenues.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Other avenues being the possibility of arson?”

 

Benisford Matura

“We don’t want to say arson, not exactly; maybe some kind of foul play.”

 

The family, however, believes otherwise. They got reports that someone broke into their establishment and then set it ablaze.

 

Voice of: Juana Sarmienta

“I think deh come thief. They open a lee hole pahn the next door dah back and then deh go in and get lotta things and then deh set it on fire and then everything gone.”

 

In the fire they lost an assortment of produce; house hold appliances; valued at over ten thousand dollars. Nothing was insured.

 

Andrea Polanco

“Were you guys able to salvage anything from the fire; anything was saved?”

 

Benisford Matura

“Some of the fruits, because it was stocked with food; no one lived in it. Some of the fruits were able to be salvaged but about sixty percent of it was destroyed; including some coolers and refrigerators and stoves.”

 

Voice of: Juana Sarmienta

“Deh got one big fridge like seven thousand dollars; a fridge like eight hundred and the next one like four hundred. And everything gone; fruits; vegetables; everything.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And of course the entire structure, now your mother is already attempting to set up business somewhere else; is that correct?”

 

Voice of: Juana Sarmienta

“Yes, she gone pahn the next side because she nuh got insurance but the family wah help and then she wah put wah next business.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

 

The family told News Five that they’ve been jacked many times before.

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