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Feb 24, 2020

Family of 5 Displaced by Fire, Needs Your Help

A family lost everything when a fire swept through their house on Raleigh Street, Belize City. Tonight, they are appealing for assistance to rebuild their lives. Two children and their grandmother were inside when the blaze erupted in one the bedrooms of the wooden structure. It quickly engulfed the entire flat leaving only rubble behind. It is believed that the fire was caused by the children playing with matches. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody.


Duane Moody, Reporting

A family of five was displaced over the weekend after a fire broke inside their wooden house on Raleigh Street in Belize City. Sharon Zelaya was at home with her two grandchildren and their father when she was alerted that a fire had started in her daughter’s bedroom. Zelaya says her daughter had left the house and the children were playing.


Sharon Zelaya

Sharon Zelaya, Fire Victim

“Usually dehn woulda play ina the room, run downstairs cause dehn pa woulda come sometime dah night and he woulda sit down. But he sit down dah di end of the step. When I deh ina my room, I hear he middle ah di hall di holler, “Miss Sharon you noh smell smoke and fire?” I tell ahn no; that I noh have on nothing, which in I mi di use my curling iron, but I done cut off long time. So when I come out of my room, all I see dah big puff of smoke and blaze di come out ah my daughter room weh deh front ah di street.”


Luckily, no one was injured in the fire, but the family was unable to save anything.


Sharon Zelaya

“But then I gone back inside to see if I can save anything. But the fire deh between wah corridor weh my door and the next door deh so and I wah can’t get to my door. And if I go in, I wah can’t come back out because the house got burglar bars. With that I ask he weh di pikney deh and he say dehn deh yah. And after that, me and he start to fight bring out thing. But the fire get worse.”


Kenneth Mortis, Station Supervisor, National Fire Service

“The house was totally destroyed—house, contents and everything you can possibly think about were destroyed in the home. The occupants were….there was an occupant who had two minors. We spoke to the grandmother of the two minors; the minors were a four and a two year old.”


Station Supervisor, Kenneth Mortis says that the investigation so far has revealed that the fire was caused by the children playing with matches.


Kenneth Mortis

Kenneth Mortis

“We observed an elevated wooden structure that was fully engulfed in flames. The basic; we extinguished this fire and launched an investigation into the cause and origin of the fire. It is confirmed that these two children were playing with matches and subsequently, the house start fire in the rear potion of the bedroom.”


The Belize Police Department joins the National Fire Service in expressing concerns over what they say is negligent behaviour when children are left unsupervised.


Kenneth Mortis

“It is very disheartening. The Fire Department has always tried to emphasize the importance of leaving children alone, leaving children unmonitored; let alone, have them in proximity of a lighter or a match. Kids between those ages are very curious and fire is something that is very intriguing to them. They see a flame and they want to explore more about what this flame can do.”


Hilberto Romero

Sr. Supt. Hilberto Romero, Deputy Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch

“An investigation is being conducted at this time to determine if they were there by themselves or adults were present.  That is a part of the investigation and at the conclusion of that investigation we will determine if anybody is liable.”


The Zelayas are in need of assistance to recover what was lost.


Sharon Zelaya

“I noh have no phone because that burn up too. So dah my sister I di make help me. She name Tanisha Zelaya and dah fi she number woulda give to help. Any, anything woulda help. It noh matter dah what. Anything cause nothing I noh got now, nothing.”


Duane Moody for News Five.


Anyone who would like to assist the Zelaya family is asked to contact Tanisha Zelaya at 614-4648.

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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