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Nov 29, 2019

Family of 3 Displaced by Fire on Arlington Drive

A family of three was displaced following a fire this afternoon on Arlington Drive in Belize City. Charles Castillo believes that his mentally-ill brother is responsible. The National Fire Service was notified and responded quickly to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby structures. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Just after midday, a fire broke inside a two-bedroom elevated wooden structure on Arlington Drive, off Faber’s Road Extension, in Belize City. The house, which is occupied by three persons, was completely gutted, despite efforts by firefighters to extinguish the blaze.


Kenneth Mortis

Kenneth Mortis, Station Supervisor, National Fire Service

“From the distance, we could have seen heavy black smoke so we knew something was burning apart from garbage or the norm. When we got here, the remains of what you see in the backdrop was fully engulfed in flames. The heat was threatening the nearby two houses that you can also see in the background. Our team quickly got into operation trying to contain and extinguish this fire before further structural damage could have been done.”


The house is the property of Charles Castillo who lived there with his mother and another relative. While the house was locked, Castillo says that his brother Francis, who is diagnosed as a mental health patient, was left in the yard. He believes that his brother set the place on fire.


Charles Castillo

Charles Castillo, Fire Victim

“My nephew phone me and tell me if I know my house is on fire. I tell ahn I noh know and he tell me that he coming to check on it cause dehn say fire pump deh right di try out it. When I get yah, dehn di work pan it. When I get yah, dehn down out it already. See how di house di look.  Only di one weh ih head noh correct. Only he I mi lef around in the yard before I gone; only he mi di walk around the yard as usual; nobody else neva deh home, only he.”


Duane Moody

“What do you think could have happened?”


Charles Castillo

“Well to my knowledge, he lit up the kerosene stove that was downstairs and the flames burst through the floor, gone upstairs.”


Kenneth Mortis

“This particular fire has led us to believe that it was an intentionally set fire by person or persons unknown at the moment. Like you rightly said, the investigation is still ongoing, but what we can tell you is that forcible entry was apparently made from the front of the structure whereby some form of accelerant was used to enhance this fire. The perpetrator(s) tried to destroy an entire block within this yard which contained three houses.”


Several houses that are in proximity to the gutted house were scorched by the blaze. Station Supervisor Kenneth Mortis says that were it not for assistance from residents in the area, the damages could have been worse.


Kenneth Mortis

“We had the assistance of nearby residents who were quick to assist indeed. The damage could have been by far much more than what we have left standing.”


Castillo says that neither the house nor the items inside were insured. He is asking for assistance to replace what was lost.


Charles Castillo

“Like boards and thing; I need boards and thing and zinc and thing. I really woulda need it cause I noh stay with nothing, everything get destroyed.”


Duane Moody 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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