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Jun 15, 2020

Early Morning Fire Destroys Undertaker’s Property!

A fire has left Louis Belisle – an undertaker in Belize City – homeless, but he says he is lucky to be alive today. Belisle’s house, in which he lived for the past twenty-two years, caught fire on Sunday morning while he was asleep. He barely managed to make it outside without any injuries, but he lost everything he owned. Up to news time, it is still not known what caused the blaze. We spoke with the senior citizen today about his narrow escape. Here’s the story.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Seventy-six year Louis Belisle says he is lucky to be alive today. He was sleeping on a couch in his living around six-thirty on Sunday morning and he woke up to a fire inside his home at 7094 Raccoon Street Extension in Belize City. Belisle, an undertaker by trade, tried to save some of his property but when he realized he couldn’t he had to get out and save himself:


Louis Belisle

Louis Belisle, Fire Victim

“I felt heat coming on me and I open my eyes and saw a ball of flames and I jumped up and tried not to get too panicked. I wondered what to do and saw a gallon of purified water and took it and throw it on the flames and when I saw it wouldn’t out I remembered my important documents in my room and made an attempt to enter the room and a big puff of hot wind threw me off and I went towards the door and then a ball of fire came towards me and made me reverse. While I was talking, the house was being engulfed more. I said well you ain’t carrying me and I decided to abandon than and tried to save my life.”


Andrea Polanco

“What was that like for you trying to get out of that house?”


Louis Belisle

“Well, the only thing I did fear is if the exit doors couldn’t open.”


Andrea Polanco

“I could imagine it was very hot in there – smokey?”


Louis Belisle

“It was smokey and I was hoping that the building didn’t get engulfed in smoke because inhalation of that smoke could have knocked me out and all of that. So, my greatest concern was to try get out of here anyway.”


Andrea Polanco

“Based on the nature of that fire, some people would say it is miracle that you were able to escape from it.”


Louis Belisle

“Definitely. A lot of people were saying what happened – where are the injuries; the burns? I told them by the grace of God I don’t have not a burn or scratch on me or nothing.”


According to Belisle, the flames appeared to have started in the walkway near one of the bedrooms. The fire destroyed the entire top floor of the house which was made of concrete and wood. Water used to put out the blaze damaged everything stored in the lower flat made of concrete. He wasn’t able to save anything. But while he has lost everything, today Belisle says he is just happy to be alive – and that his fifteen-year-old daughter who lives with him wasn’t at home at the time of the fire.


Louis Belisle

“Everything burn up. I just came back from there to check if there is anything we could save and clean up back and thing but nothing.  It is a loss where the things that were in there are necessities for my house but I don’t consider them as a great value. My life value more than those things there. They could always be replaced. Everybody concern was where my daughter is. I said it was some kind of thing where she wasn’t there because it probably would have been her or me – depends on the situation right.”


Today, Belisle told us that he doesn’t believe the fire is electrical or gas related. And fire-fighters are saying the same thing – and still trying to find out what caused the blaze.


Kenneth Mortis

Kenneth Mortis, Station Supervisor, National Fire Service

“We conducted an investigation trying to determine what caused that fire but that is still pending because the information forth coming is limited. We know for a fact that while the building has electricity we ruled that out as a probably cause for a fire and we ruled out the chance of an unattended stove as it seems that Mr. Belisle wasn’t doing any cooking. So, we have to go back to the field and try to see if we can come up with a cause.”


Belisle reported that the fire-fighter didn’t appear to have any sense of urgency that morning to put out the blaze. Mortis says that they were unable to go right in because B.E.L. technicians had not yet arrived on scene to cut power. He says the risk of electrocution was high because of the live wires that morning. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


If you’d like to assist Belisle to rebuild the upper floor of his house, you can call the family at 631-1365.

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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