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Jun 18, 2018

Family of Five Homeless after Weekend Fire on Freedom Street

A small plywood house was destroyed by fire over the weekend in Belize City. Five persons occupy the house but no one was inside when the fire broke. Family members were socializing in the yard on Saturday when Calbert Estrada saw smoke coming from inside his house. The Fire Department responded quickly, but the fire consumed the small house, leaving the Estrada family homeless. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A fire on Freedom Street on Saturday evening has left the Estrada family without a roof over its head tonight.  While the cause of the blaze is still being investigated, it has been confirmed that the plywood structure became engulfed in flames from a spark that started inside one of the bedrooms.  According to Calbert Estrada, he was seated outside in his yard when he was alerted by his children that the house was up in smoke.


Calbert Estrada

Calbert Estrada, Fire Victim

“The fire, well like I said, I was sitting out here—me and dehn children grandfather—two of the lee gial mi deh with we di talk. We deh at least wah hour di talk with dehn and then my gial hail the lee one and tell ahn go inside go get the phone fi ahn. When she gone inside, ih say the house under fire.”


Isani Cayetano

“Do you know what may have been the cause of that fire?”


Calbert Estrada

“No; we still shock. We want know cause nothing deh in there to light no fire right now. The current noh even deh on in there. But when she gone in deh so, she say the inside part weh we sleep in there, was on fire.”


Isani Cayetano

“Now what is the extent of the damages? What all have you lost? I notice this is a mechanic shop as well; you use the property for auto work. What all have you lost to the fire?”


Calbert Estrada

“Well we lost everything in there like clothes, TV, refridge, microwave. I mi have wah stereo system; I lost everything. I can’t give account of weh I lost right now.”


In speaking with the media, Station Officer Orin Smith, of the National Fire Service, provided details of the conflagration.


Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Station Officer, Nat’l Fire Service

“At approximately 5:48 p.m., the National Fire Service responded to reports of a structural fire on Freedom Street, Belize City.  On arrival on the scene, a sixteen by forty plywood structure with zinc roofing was seen engulfed in flames.  The south face of another plywood structure on the immediate north of the burning structure was also being threatened by fire.  Following a size-up, the National Fire Service went into operation extinguishing the fire.  The fire was brought under control and extinguished.  As a result of the fire, the structure at number 1993 Freedom Street was destroyed by fire.  The adjacent plywood structure suffered some degree of structural fire to the south face.  Investigation revealed that the fire originated within the east bedroom of the lost structure.  The fire originated on the bed, on the right side of the bed head.”


Estrada, who lost everything in the fire, says the response time from the fire department was fairly reasonable, despite the traffic and distance from the station.


Calbert Estrada

“They get yah…with me I di try out the fire so I feel like dehn take long cause the heat di get hotter and hotter. But I say maybe dah natural time have to pass all the highway and get the water and everything. So I believe dah natural time. But me weh mi deh yah di try out and out the fire, fi me it take wah lee while fi get yah.”


Investigators are yet to determine what caused the fire since there is no electricity provided to the structure.


Orin Smith

“No ignition source was found within the area of origin.  The structure had no electrical current.  There were no evidence of any pattern within the room or on the floor or outside the structure.  There were no evidence of any substance or material that can be tied into the cause of the fire when the exterior grounds of the premises was searched.  The family, although at home at the time, were not within the structure.  According to the parents, the children were playing outside the structure within the yard and they were outside of the premises of the yard.  They were alerted of the fire by one of their young children or child and when they ran over to the house there was very little they could do.  The fire spread directly through the house.”


The property and its contents were not insured. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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