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Nov 21, 2000

Gas tank explodes injuring six

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They say that bad things happen in threes…and sure enough, on Monday night in Cayo, Belize experienced its third serious gas tank explosion in a little over a month. The latest catastrophe occurred around seven at Palma’s Restaurant on Savannah Road in San Ignacio. After the explosion six people were transferred to KHMH where they are currently receiving treatment for burns. Those injured include two children: Vanessa and Ronnie Banos as well as adults Ramon Banos, Samuel Salazar, Carmita Salazar and Miriam Merida. Fire Chief Henry Baizar explained that, once again, basic safety precautions were ignored.

Henry Baizar, Fire Chief

“There was just very slight burn patterns on some wires, but other than that there were no other burning inside the building. What transpired was that the owners of the restaurant were changing a tank. The tanks are located within the building. While changing the tanks, some of the gas escaped into the building and into the atmosphere. After they had finished changing the tank, they lighted the stove. Doing so, the heat from the stove came back to where the tanks were. Because of the gas that was in the atmosphere, in the room, there was a brief explosion or a flash over so to speak. During the course of that seven people got injured.”

Ramon Banos

?We just changed the tank and connected it, and as we light the stove we only saw a big flame. All of us were in a little room like this.?

Jose Sanchez

“I believe this is the third fire in recent weeks that was caused by a gas tank within a house.”

Henry Baizar

“Gas tanks should not be within houses. We must use the gas, but it’s safer to have it outside. Whenever you remove the fittings from the tank and gas is in that tank, gas will release into the atmosphere. Once you release it into the atmosphere it takes very little for it to ignite.”

The other two recent gas tank explosions occurred in San Pedro and aboard a sailboat on the Haulover Creek.

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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