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Jan 21, 2019

Fire Destroys 1 House; Was It Caused by a Candle?

Fire destroyed a house in Belize City on Monday night. The blaze was seen coming out of the house after seven-thirty that night in the Conch Shell Bay area. A woman and her daughter were living there at the time and fortunately escaped unhurt. The fire could have been worse, considering the proximity of the houses on the street and the type of materials of the structures. But the National Fire Service responded and extinguished the blaze before it could spread to the neighbors’ yard. Reporter Andrea Polanco tells us more about the blaze.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Forty-six-year-old Sharon Bennett is without a roof over her head tonight. The house she has lived in for many years at number forty East Collet Canal in Belize City burnt down on Sunday night sometime around eight.  The small ply-wood home was gutted in a matter of minutes.  Bennett says it was caused by a single candle.


Sharon Bennett

Sharon Bennett, Fire Victim

“I was right inside. I just had a candle lit at the time. I was warming my feet because I don’t have any socks. I was warming my feet and by the time I look around the candle dropped. I got distracted by a young man who was at the gate. When I do reach the house the fire started in the place. I came to dip some water but I neva did make it.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, the candle caused the fire?”


Sharon Bennett

“[Nodding] the candle.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, it burnt out your house completely? Everything destroyed?”


Sharon Bennett

“Everything. Everything. Everything.”


And Bennett’s house and all her belongings went up in smoke. The flames were spreading quickly – and almost burnt down two of three other structures in the yard. But the blaze only managed to scorch the walls of the two wooden buildings because the fire-fighters managed to contain the fire. Today workmen were busy clearing out the rubble left over from Sunday night’s disaster. They say a boat and some other items in the yard were also destroyed. On Sunday night, during the fire, police officers were observed searching the neighborhood – word had spread quickly that it was someone who had intentionally set the fire. Bennett says it was no arsonist – it was an accidental fire caused by her candle.


Sharon Bennett

“At the end of the day I just feel sad, mien. I just feel sad because.”


Andrea Polanco

“What di go through your mind seeing that all your things destroyed?”


Sharon Bennett

“Everybody vex with me.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, it was an accident, you’re saying?”


Sharon Bennett

“Yes because I could ah mi die. I could ah mi die. But like I say, I wasn’t sleeping.”


Andrea Polanco

“And you nuh think dah somebody set the fire round yah?”


Sharon Bennett

“No. Nobody nuh set that. Dah just the distraction. By the time I do reach, I just hear “powww.”


Alejandro Cowo

But while Bennett claims that it was caused by a candle – and her neighbors confirmed that claim to us, authorities say they are exploring another possible cause.


ASP Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Belize City

“Preliminary report from the fire department say that they suspect it was electrical the cause of the fire.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


Bennett says she is in need of some assistance. If you’d like to help, you can find her out near the Conch Shell Bay Market in Belize City.

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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