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Dec 21, 2018

A Suicide Attempt Ends with a House Fire on Cleghorn Street

Eleven persons who occupied a two storey building on Cleghorn Street, Belize City, are left to pick up the pieces just before the Christmas. This morning one of the tenants on the upper flat set a mattress on fire in an attempt to take his life. Though he barricaded himself inside the apartment as the blaze spread throughout the building, he was rescued. While the arsonist is in custody, the others lost all their personal belongings in the blaze. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A house fire on Cleghorn Street this morning has displaced three tenants living on the upper flat of a two-storey wooden structure, as well as a family of eight that occupies the downstairs residence.  Shortly after nine a.m., Shawn Pacheco became aware of thick smoke coming from her stepmother’s home.  She quickly notified her that the building was going up in smoke.

 

Shawn Pacheco

Shawn Pacheco, Witness

“This morning I was in my bed sleeping and I heard the fire truck and when I looked out through my window I saw my step mom’s house on fire, so I went downstairs and I called her.  So she was really lost at the moment.  Basically that’s all I know for now.”

 

According to Pacheco, as well as several others who responded to the blaze, someone renting a room upstairs of the property intentionally set it on fire and attempted to barricade himself inside once the flames began to spread.

 

Shawn Pacheco

“Well her son said that there was a tenant inside [and] he had lit the mattress on fire and when they tried to stamp open the door he was behind the door.  That’s all I can say.”

 

Reporter

“Ma’am, do you have any idea why someone would intentionally burn a property like this?”

 

Shawn Pacheco

“I have no idea.  What I heard is that he was trying to commit suicide, you know.  Basically that.”

 

Reporter

“Where is he right now?”

 

Shawn Pacheco

“At the police station, they have him hold.”

 

It is believed that the individual was attempting to take his own life, but in the process he has left several others homeless.  Despite prompt response from the nearby fire department, not much could have been done to save their household possessions.

 

Isani Cayetano

“What’s the extent of the damages?  Have you guys done a preliminary assessment of what all was lost?”

 

Shawn Pacheco

“Everything they have lost, everything.  The whole back of the house is burnt, so directly everything they have lost.”

 

Reporter

“Do you guys have any idea as to the value of the entire property?”

 

Shawn Pacheco

“Not at this moment.”

 

The unforeseen turn of events this morning has ruined Christmas for the family and Pacheco is making an appeal on their behalf for public assistance.

 

Shawn Pacheco

“You can reach her at 635-7750.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


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