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Feb 25, 2019

Cause of Fire at B.A.L. Still Undetermined; Fire Officials Face ‘Challenges’

Almost a month ago, the processing plant at the Belize Aquaculture Limited near Placencia caught fire. The inferno created a menacing black, thick cloud of smoke which could have been seen by the neighboring villages of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa. The fire also emitted traces of ammonia and chlorine into the air, prompting NEMO South to activate.  At around three p.m. on January twenty-eight, employees realized that smoke was emanating from the south portion of the building. Firefighters responded, but the inferno was uncontrollable. Given the nature of the fire and what the building contained, firefighters were told to stand down for their own protection and safety. The scene was later declared safe and fire officials began to investigate; however, investigators encountered challenges. According to Station Manager for the National Fire Service, Orin Smith, the cause of the damages has not been ascertained. Smith also added that while the building was insured, investigators were not able to determine which company insured the building.


Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Station Manager, National Fire Service

“Investigation into that incident revealed a timeline of somewhere around two pm and four o’clock depending on the individuals’ interview on when they became aware on the incident. It is somewhere between that timeline of that two hour that the fire was discovered. The fire department received that information at four-fifty pm. The structure, we understand, is insured however we don’t know with what company. No one seems to have that information at the time of the investigation. The origin of the fire originated on the southern rear quarter of the structure. The cause of the fire has still not yet been determined as investigators experienced some challenges with proceeding with the investigation.”



“Would you care to reveal any of those challenges, sir?”


Orin Smith

“Based on the nature of this incident and the fact that it might proceed further, I will not comment on the nature of those.”



“Do any of the investigators suspect the folks at B.A.L. were negligent in any kind of fashion to cause the fire to either start or spread?”


Orin Smith

“That would still be leading into information being released on a present ongoing investigation.”



“Was an accelerant found?”


Orin Smith

“No ma’am, not to the extent the investigation has concluded when we met those challenges.

In this case the report will be written as is and all circumstance surrounding the investigation will be properly documented. If the insurance company would like to inquire further they can always reach out the National Fire Service, no information will be withheld from them.”


Smith also updated the media on several other recent fires. The fire at the Civic Center was accidental. The cause of the fire which occurred on Thursday February twenty-first and destroyed a house off Mahogany Street has not been determined. As for the fire which occurred on Holy Emanuel Street on February eighteen and left twelfth persons homeless, it is believed to be arson.

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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