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Jan 29, 2019

Menacing Cloud of Smoke Shadows Villages as B.A.L. Building Burns

There is an ongoing investigation into what caused the building at B.A.L. to go up in flames. The Belize Aquaculture Limited processing plant caught fire on Monday evening. Employees reported seeing smoke penetrating the roof. Fire officials were called but the blaze had taken a life of its own, consuming the entire structure. The inferno was so enormous that a dark, thick cloud formed above it. Firefighters were not able to control the blaze and due to safety concerns, the multi-million dollar building and content were left to burn through the night. According to Bowen and Bowen Limited, parent company of B.A.L., investigators are working on establishing what happened and the extent of damages to the steel and concrete building. Smoke was first observed coming from the South Middle, but since the building had a ridge vent it is unclear from where the smoke originated. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

A thick, dark cloud of smoke cast a menacing shadow over the villages of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa on Monday evening.  The threatening smoke was seen from a distance, emerging from the Belize Aquaculture Limited (BAL) Processing Plant which caught fire at around three-thirty. The Processing Plant Manager alerted his supervisor of the fire, saying that smoke can be seen penetrating the roof. Fire officials were quickly notified and a pair of firefighters, using this fire truck, from Placencia was the first to arrive on the scene. The fire’s intensity and magnitude were too much for firefighters. The blaze was uncontrollable and growing fast. The second team of firefighters, this time from Independence Village, arrived. Due to the enormity of the blaze and limited water supply, firefighters decided to take a defensive strategy, containing the fire in one building before they were instructed to stand down. The building kept burning throughout the night.


Pedro Ack

Pedro Ack, Resident, Santa Cruz Village

 “I saw a smoke yesterday, something was burning behind the bush. I only see the smoke. It was a lot of smoke and it blacks off the sun too.”


Hipolito Novelo

“It blocked the sun?”


Pedro Ack

“Yes. It was a lot of smoke.”


Ack’s wife, Angelina was at home too when she saw the skies darkening.


Angelina Ack, Resident, Santa Cruz Village

Angelina Ack

“I see that a lot of the smoke was burning in the back of the bush. I didn’t know what was burning there and I saw that it was blocking the sun. It was like it had already gotten dark or something or something like that.”


Hipolito Novleo

“Did you smell anything out of the ordinary?”


Angelina Ack

“We smelled something like it was a burning tire. We didn’t study what was burning there but we did smell it”.

The parent company, Bowen and Bowen Limited, in a release stated that ‘It is still unclear where the fire started’. The surrounding buildings, the Canteen and Warehouse, were not damaged. This morning the building was still smouldering and access to the building is limited due to continued safety concerns. No one was in the building when the fire broke out and fortunately, no one was injured. Fire officials from Belize City arrived on the scene this afternoon. Hipolito Novelo 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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