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Feb 27, 2006

Three different fires ignite in Belize City over weekend

Story PictureFire officials had a busy weekend as three separate blazes erupted in Belize City, leaving one family homeless and sending thousands of dollars in property up in smoke. According to fire officials, the first call came in around three-thirty on Saturday. When fire trucks responded to this address on Queen Charlotte Street they found these two structures engulfed in flames. National Fire Service officials told News Five the buildings had been abandoned for the past five months and were a known base for drug users. Investigations into the exact cause of the fire continue. But just as fire-fighters had taken control of the scene, a second fire was reported not far away on Nurse Findley Crescent. Today, it was at that address we found a mother trying to pick up the pieces.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
Around four on Saturday morning, Martha Velasquez Savery was ironing her security guard uniform before heading off to work, when she sensed trouble. When she looked down the hall, smoke was emanating from the room next door.

Martha Velasquez Savery, Fire Victim
“Two of my children was at the time with me, nuh, so I just holla, ?fire? to them and the same time, I holla, ?fire?, they both jump up. And then I opened the back door and when they went out, I mek sure I went upstairs too and alarm the people upstairs.?

Most of Savery?s belongings were extensively damaged by fire, smoke, and water.

She had been living in the lower flat of her sister?s house for the past three years, after her own home in the St. Martin De Porres area collapsed. But today the family that took her in then is unable to help as they make repairs to the upper portion of the house. Savery is now asking for the public?s assistance.

Janelle Chanona
?What will do you temporarily until you could get help??

Martha Velasquez Savery
“Well I do not know, because upstairs cannot take me in because they need also, all fuh them flooring and they is taking up?they only have a small spot to live on right now too; no current downstairs, nothing.?

Janelle Chanona
?So the children schoolbooks and uniform, all of that gone??

Martha Velasquez Savery
“Yes, only the one that was dirty save, the one dirty. That nevah went, but all them books went, destroyed. But down here is unfortunate for anybody to live, nuh. So I really need a house now.?

Today investigating officers have yet to determine the cause of the blaze.

Mark Fisher, Training Officer, Fire Department
“The lower flat bedroom in the northern section of the lower flat was totally engulfed; one single bedroom. This fire burnt everything inside that bedroom, but it was contained before it spread throughout the building. The flooring for the upper flat received extensive fire damage, whilst a vehicle that was parked approximately three feet away from the structure also was engulfed.?

Janelle Chanona
?What has the investigations revealed so far as to what was in that room when the fire started??

Mark Fisher
“According to Ms. Savery, the bedroom was not occupied since it was used as more or less, a store room. It had in beds and stuff, but it was not occupied by anyone.?

Janelle Chanona
?So are you thinking spontaneous combustion or something right now??

Mark Fisher
“It?s too early to determine that Janelle, it?s too early to determine that, but our investigation continues.?

Fire officials tell News Five that both buildings damaged over the weekend were not insured.

Around two on Sunday, fire fighters responded to yet another report, this time at the Belize City dump.

Mark Fisher
“We responded and indeed we had a fire in the back, but we managed to control it within five hours. We still have a team up there monitoring the situation because we don?t want what happened to us last year reoccurring, nuh.?

?On this dump situation, it?s to me, it?s I think it?s sad to see the way this dump is managed. I think we need to have better, a better system in controlling the way the dump is maintained. Yesterday on our arrival, I mean, we spent extensive time trying to manoeuvre around the dump, and we didn?t even have a proper road to get into the area, which we needed to reach to the back. But we managed to control it and I hope that a plan is put in place to control the situation.?

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