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Jun 25, 2014

Pregnant woman perishes in a massive fire in the City

A twenty-three year old mother of three tragically perished this morning in a massive fire which completely destroyed two large buildings on Newtown Barracks in Belize City. Jacqueline Arteaga, three months pregnant, was trapped in the upper flat of Kimmie’s Bar when the fire started at around four this morning. The blaze was extinguished a little more than two hours later by more than twenty fire-fighters on the scene. Up to this afternoon Police Department and Fire Department personnel had the area cordoned off as they sifted through the wreckage in an attempt to get some answers. Mike Rudon has been following the blaze and its aftermath and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

This was the scene at around five this morning as towering flames burned out of control, greedily feeding on two large wooden buildings housing Kimmie’s Bar and Business Computer Systems. The Fire Department got the call at around four thirty-seven this morning.


Jacqueline Arteaga

Benisford Matura, Operations Officer, Belize Fire Department

“Upon arrival the ground floor and a portion at the front of the upper floor for Kimmie’s Nightclub was totally engulfed along with the south-western section of Business Computer systems…the building adjacent to it. Like I said it was totally engulfed. We got into operations to try and contain and control this fire. We all know that the structure for Kimmie’s is an old wooden structure, both of them, so the heat was very intense. It was early morning. The wind was blowing from the east going to the west at a heavy rate so the wind was not on our side this morning.”


The fire allegedly started here in the lower flat of Kimmie’s Bar. Four persons were upstairs sleeping, including young Jacqueline Artega and the owner of the bar, Merlyn Moreira.


Voice of: Merlyn Moreira, Owner, Kimmie’s Bar

“Around like four fifteen this morning, we di hear wah noise and we di sleep and the person who I live with, my common-law husband, wake up me make I go outside because the place ketch fire. When we notice, all the smoke deh inside the building so he try to bring me outside and the next two persons weh deh inside, we hollered the name; Mister James, Jackie…make them come otu with us, but we noh get answer from them. So we hurry run and come outside and then when we come out outside, we see the fire start from the front of the building.”


Three persons managed to get out of the building safely, leaving a panicked Jacqueline Artega trapped inside screaming for help.


Benisford Matura

Benisford Matura

“Upon arrival no one had informed us that someone was in there. About midway during fire-fighting I guess the proprietor for Kimmie’s Bar informed the Police, and that’s how we were told that somebody was in there. But upon arrival our fire-fighters did not hear and nobody informed them that somebody was trapped in Kimmie’s Nightclub, the upper floor.”


Voice of: Merlyn Moreira

“When we come by the front of the building, we heard Jackie because we still mi di holler Jackie, Jackie and Mister James. We heard Jackie saying help, help…noh left me here, help me. We tell her jump the window; jump the window. And she neva do it.”


Benisford Matura

“After being informed that there was somebody in there we started a search in the lower flat of Kimmie’s and I would say that half an hour into our search we found the remains.”


Investigators have been able to determine where the fire started, but at this point do not want to go as far as to say it was arson. Still, Merlyn Moreira is convinced that the blaze was set deliberately.


Benisford Matura

“Presently we still have a team of investigators as we speak trying to find the cause of the fire. We can pinpoint the origin as it was in the front of Kimmie’s Nightclub on the lower flat. The front would be the south-eastern corner of the nightclub on the lower flat.”


Voice of: Merlyn Moreira

 “I sure dat somebody do it because we get threatened before by somebody. The ex-wife from the person with who I live, she say that she will burn up the business. We wah dead like that and soh. So we sure that she do it.”


Arteaga was three months pregnant. She had stopped working at Kimmie’s Bar one month ago, but still rented a room there. She leaves behind three young children. Mike Rudon for News Five.


This is the second person to perish in fires since the beginning of the year. On May twenty-second, eighty-three year old Orseline Wallace Gabourel was trapped inside her wooden house at the corner of Douglas Jones and Cleghorn Streets; she called for help, but was unable to get out of the house and died in the flames.

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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2 Responses for “Pregnant woman perishes in a massive fire in the City”

  1. Renee says:

    This is a shame-Fire Department gets on TV and says public dont know what they are talking about-blind eye jamesie can see when they arrive, no water in fire tank, and takes longer than needed to start spraying. JUst the time it took to almost uproot the tree means they are not ready. I recall the old fire trucks by swing bridge used to have hand pumps that worked faster. Yet they want to interject themselves into private people business and tell them how to run their business and have a fire extinguisher etc or they cant open-perhaps they know its because fire dept. will not show up in timely fashion and help? Bunch of buffoons always wanting a little payoff for building approvals-do your main work and save people-”no one told me there was someone inside”-you are the expert and should determine or go look genius. Otherwise, stick to outing bush fires.

  2. H@tari says:

    And the FD did not think of searching the building until they were told to and another person died . . . almost as efficient as the PD.

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