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Apr 8, 2005

Fire destroys football league headquarters

Story PictureOne of Belize City’s oldest and most popular hangouts along the Haulover Creek burned down last night. But the owner and patrons of the “Traveller’s” and “Aqui Me Quedo” bars are not the only losers. The building on Regent Street West was also headquarters for the Belize Premier Football League and valuable records have been lost. News Five visited the scene this morning.

Jaime Perdomo, Owner, Traveller’s Building
?From what I was told last night from a gentleman that was around here, he said he thinks this building is like from 1898, so the building is well over a hundred years old. We have been renovating it over the years. Travellers and my family bought it sometime in ?77 when we had a major fire on North Front Street, some people can remember that, that is when we bought this building and we moved over here. And about ten years ago Traveller’s moved up to the Northern Highway and we kept the building. I just took it over from my mom and started renovating it; I had the three the tenants. The football office has been here for over five years right, so there is a lot of sentimental value in it, especially the old records of the league.?

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Perdomo, who is the Commissioner of the Belize Premier Football League, says B.P.F.L. suffered one of its biggest losses because the fire not only destroyed their main office that was located in the upper flat, but priceless information they may never be able to replace.

Jaime Perdomo
?We have all the records from the inception of the Premier Football League; all of the records were destroyed. All our filing cabinets are on the ground, they were upstairs secured in a nice little office there and all those records there. We?re going to see if we can salvage anything out of it, some of it looks like it is intact, but it?s all wet.?

Perdomo suspects the fire started from inside B.P.F.L.?s office and quickly spread through the entire the building.

Jaime Perdomo
?Everything inside is destroyed. On the other side it is not as burned up as where we think it started. On the other side it is a lot of water damage and some burning, but this side where the football office was, I went in there just a while ago and I could not even recognize the computer, so it was really burnt bad there.?

?I was getting ready on the other side to the front to open a wholesale liquors and gift shop, and that was going to be completed between today and sometime next week when I was going to start to stock it up.?

Fire Chief Henry Baizar says they had to use all of their resources to battle the flames, but they were successful in not only putting out the blaze but preventing it from spreading to other nearby large wooden buildings. Baizar says for a moment things got dangerous–very dangerous.

Henry Baizar, Fire Chief
?On arrival we saw heavy smoke coming from the eastern section of the building. We made entry into the building and we were conscious that the fire was upstairs and we had to withdraw because there was heavy fire coming. And as soon as we withdraw from inside the building the roof collapsed.?

?We got there at 12:37 and the fire was brought under control around 1:30, but we did not actually out the fire until about 3 o?clock this morning and we started mopping up then and we finished at 5:30, so it was a long haul for us.?

While Perdomo suspects it may have been something electrical that started the fire, Baizar says because the upper flat, where the League?s office was located and where they suspect the fire started, caved in, it will take sometime for them to determine what is responsible for the blaze.

Henry Baizar
?We know where the fire started; we know for sure the fire started upstairs and the only thing that was upstairs was the office for the football league. And we know the fire started from up there because when we arrived there and went into the building the fire was actually upstairs.?

According to fire officials, the building was insured for two hundred thousand dollars.

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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