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Jul 2, 2019

Fire Department Speaks on Fashion & More Fire in Belmopan

Last Wednesday, we reported on a fire that wiped out a boutique in Belmopan. The fire started on Tuesday night just before seven o’clock in a storeroom of Fashion and More Boutique on the lower flat of the James Plaza on Mountain View Boulevard. That fire completely destroyed everything in the store. The day after the fire, the tenants suspected that the cause may have been electrical because the store had recently experienced electrical problems that they had attempted to fix just the day before. Today, the National Fire Service confirmed that the fire was electrical. Station Officer Orin Smith also responded to allegations that the fire truck didn’t have sufficient water. Smith says that while he believes that the capital city should have more than one fire truck; firefighters did their best considering the circumstances.

 

Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Station Officer, National Fire Service

“Investigation revealed that the fire originated in the warehouse section or the rear of the boutique and the cause of the fire is electrical.  I will agree that for the capital city it shouldn’t have just one truck but that is all we can manage to put there for the time being. Perhaps in the future when the new station is completed there will be more than one truck. In reference to the water supply, that is a horse that is beaten so many times; it doesn’t have flesh and I think even the dry bones have been broken up that it is beaten up so many times. A simple illustration is a glass of water. If you have one glass and you drink it up, will it take you one minute, thirty seconds or ten seconds or eternity to finish drinking that one glass of water? The fire truck is no different. It has a small tank with a limited supply and when you start to discharge water from there, there is no way it can last forever. I would hope that the public would be a little more understanding in the operation of these vehicles.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“How far away is that source of water that they had to go to?”

 

Orin Smith

“I don’t know the exactly location where the hydrant is in terms of distance and how far they have to go.  But I do know that the entire hydrant system grid is set up on the city water grid. I can speak for Belize City, the pressure is usually slow and water flow is not that supported when it comes to fire fighting and it doesn’t yield that much as how the fire may demand water being discharged on to. So, initially the first choice would be one truck arrive on scene and start discharging its tank supply and the second truck go back to the water  source and relay water back to the truck on the scene which would be discharging water on to the fire. In the case of Belmopan, with one truck that cannot be done and the hydrant obviously wasn’t located in the immediate area right in front of the building that is burning. So the truck can only discharge its tank which would take approximately two minutes or so and then move on to a hydrant and return to discharge and that process will be repeated until the fire is extinguished or until other supporting units respond.”

 

Reporter

“With that particular tank in Belmopan, how long does it take to expend the limited water resource it carries on board?”

 

Orin Smith

“They were discharging approximately three hundred gallons per minute were being discharged and that is a thousand gallon tank, so you have at least three minutes.”

 

Reporter

“And what is the average time to fill it?”

 

Orin Smith

“That depends on the yield; the source.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Sir, the bucket brigade, was that helpful in any way at all?”

 

Orin Smith

“For that size fire, no, ma’am. Water will be only in one point. Looking at that building over there, you see how long and wide it is? Someone throwing water will not be able to get too close to the fire so the water is only landing on one point. It seems production is only at that point and not filling the compartment itself. So, you have little steam production with little effects to the mass body of the fire itself.”


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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