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Jun 13, 2018

San Pedranos Gather to Mourn the Loss of 4 Persons in a Deadly Overnight House Fire

The death of four family members in a horrible fire in San Pedro is being felt throughout the tightly knit community in San Pedro. A mother, her two children and a niece were unable to get out as a fire blazed through their house on the Escalante Sub division of the island early on Tuesday morning. Two other family members managed to escape the fire. Today, the grandmother of the three minors was deeply affected when she spoke about the tragedy. This afternoon, Samir Nunez, the only surviving sibling, wrote an emotional post on Facebook: “the pictures are fresh in my mind. I’m sorry mom, I failed. I couldn’t save you; it all happened so fast. I didn’t even get the chance to tell you sorry or goodbye. It breaks me to know that you’re gone and I’m still here. Your screams stuck in my mind. And when I heard that they found you guys hugging, it tore me apart.” News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Allan Nunez

Duane Moody, Reporting

There was an outpour of emotions and sympathy on Tuesday evening at a vigil inside the Angel Nuñez Auditorium in San Pedro in honour of the four members of the Nunez/Bacab family who perished in an early morning fire in the Escalante subdivision of the island. San Pedro High School hosted the candlelight vigil in remembrance of fourteen-year-old Allan Nunez, who along with his mother Clara Nunez, six-year-old sister Mia Nunez and sixteen-year-old cousin Shirley Bacab, lost their lives in the tragic fire around two-forty-five that morning. Allan’s father David Nunez and older brother, sixteen-year-old Samir Nuñez, managed to escape the inferno, but David remains in a critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.


Voice of: Speaker at Vigil

“Times like these are difficult to overcome with all our ways to deal with this loss and sorrow. So I ask that we bow our heads and send our prayers to our Lord. God, of all constellations, in your continued love and mercy for us, you turn darkness of death into the dawn of new life. Show compassion to your people in sorrow; be our witness and our strength to lift us from the darkness of this day to peace and joy in your presence.”


Mia Nunez & Clarita Bacab

Even more heart-wrenching is the unimaginable state of the family whose loved ones were killed in the blaze. The Nunez’s has been living on the island for over eighteen years; Clarita’s mother lives in the San Mateo area of San Pedro and says she could not believe the news when she arrived in Belize City early that morning. An emotional Elidia Catzim shares what she understands happened to her daughter and three grandkids.


Elidia Catzim

Elidia Catzim, Mother of Clarita Bacab

“My daughter was a very good mother and a daughter and she was loving and kind to everyone and I’m so sorry to the way she went. As a mother we feel it very hard, but we have to trust in God. She only stayed with one son and her husband is in hospital and he stand kinda bad too.  I leave San Pedro about twelve in the night on Tuesday night. I am coming to Belize because I was going to go with my daughter to Chetumal cause was going to check doctor to get her operation date. And I was coming down from the barge when my phone ring and I answered. And they told me do you know what happened and I said no, what happened? He say your daughter and your four grand pickney died. I said, “What? You are playing with me.” He said no it is true. That happened two o’clock in the morning. We hurrying come out and came here at the hospital but the body hadn’t reach. The body reached later over here.”


The deadly fire occurred around two-forty-five on Tuesday morning and gutted two houses—one occupied by a mute couple and the other, a two storey structure where the Nunez’s lived on the upper wooden flat and their six tenants in the concrete first floor.  The six tenants escaped unhurt, but Clarita, her daughter and younger son as well as her niece were trapped inside. Their charred remains were discovered amongst the rubble at the rear of what was left of the building.


Elidia Catzim

“It’s a very hard thing for me cause I went into the morgue to see their bodies. I just recognize my daughter head; and I didn’t recognize the rest. They are like pieces and pieces of stones.”


Fortunately, Samir Nunez has since been discharged from the hospital. Catzim says that the family still does not know what could have caused the fire. Fire officials also confirmed today that the investigation continues and they are looking at all leads, including reports that a golf cart may have started the blaze.


Luigi Chable

Luigi Chable, Tenant [File: June 12th, 2018]

“They say that there was a spark on their golf cart because the golf carts are electric so they say there was a spark. Other people and saying that there were gunshots. I can’t really know, but what I get to know from my wife is that when she opened the door from the living room, the roof top was on fire. So she said all the verandah was on fire and the golf carts were not burnt. But when I arrived like three, three-fifteen in the morning, the golf cart was still intact, they were not burnt.”


Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Station Manager National Fire Service [File: June 12th, 2018]

“Some are saying that a golf cart was involved. Of course I cannot confirm or deny that; we are still awaiting the outcome of the actual investigation.”


Elidia Catzim

“Really we don’t know. What people say is like how the steps catch fire, they think that maybe it was someone that light it. But we don’t know the real story of it.”


Duane Moody

“And they never complain that anybody wanted to do them anything?”


Elidia Catzim

“No well as I know, like how I tell you, they no put themselves in anybody. My son-in-law is a good son and my daughter too. I don’t know about anything else about that.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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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