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Mar 7, 2003

Fire burns three Belize City homes

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Fire is an ever-present danger in a city crowded with old wooden buildings…but as we get further into the dry season the probability of a major disaster increases. This afternoon, a rapidly expanding blaze was extinguished, but not before making a number of families homeless. Jacqueline Woods reports.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

The fire burnt four houses near East Canal. Witnesses say the blaze started at the residence of Jason Hyde and then quickly spread to three nearby homes. Neighbours say they tried to put out the flames, but it was already too late.

Glen Bainton, Neighbour

“We had no water, then the fire get outta hand that they can’t out the fire because we can’t go throw bucket ah water because we gonna get hurt, an the electricity thing bust down, then no man fi electricity and no nobody come.”

Elaine Gillett, Neighbour

“Couple ah the boys they come and we start to wet the houses, but it mi too far gone.”

Glen Bainton

“The thing weh mek I feel bad, is because about five six police truck come and the fireman nevah come and then the fireman them deh right dah Queen’s Square right deh and Raccoon Street deh right there. The time that the police tek to come and the fireman come, three house start to smoke and ketch.”

Fire Chief Henry Baizar says they did not receive any call, but found out about the incident from a man on a bicycle who came by to tell them that there was smoke in the area, and that when they eventually got a call they were already on the way to the scene. But by that time the four buildings were already engulfed in flames. The fire fighters quickly accessed water from the nearby canal and worked feverishly to stop the fire from spreading further into the congested neighbourhood.

Henry Baizar, Fire Chief

“The one that burnt flat, that’s where we think the fire started. And the next three were already on fire, so we concentrated on trying to get all the fires out at the same time. It was a difficult task, but I think the first truck that arrived here did an excellent job in containing the fire.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Home many houses were completely burnt?”

Henry Baizar

“Just one and that’s the one that’s just behind us. And all four houses are pretty close together. At least the one that burnt was almost touching the others. So unfortunately that’s what happened here, we don’t know much about what start the fire, we are trying to work on that at the moment, but once again I think the guys that came here initially did an excellent job at containing it.”

Neighbours say Jason Hyde, a mental patient, had a habit of leaving a burning candle inside his house. However they do not know if that caused the fire.

Elaine Gillett

“We have to give God thanks and praise today because my mother could have gone, my house over there…and everybody around this neighbourhood is trying for something, unfortunately for this to happen, but we just need to give God thanks and praise that the other houses were not destroyed.”

Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

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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