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Oct 13, 2020

Man Escapes Grave Injury after House is Set on Fire with Him Sleeping Inside

There was a second fire in Belize City that gutted a wooden house belonging to the Ramclam family.  On Monday night, the Ramclam family was asleep when the fire broke at the house located on Mahogany Street.  Fire fighters managed to contain the blaze from spreading, but the Ramclam’s lost everything. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but there is reason to believe it was a case of arson, though proving that will be a challenge since by this morning, the rubble had been cleaned up. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

They have been living at the corner of Mahogany Street and Western Avenue for over three decades, but on Monday night a fire broke inside a three-bedroom wooden house belonging to the Ramclam family. Fifty-six-year-old Lester Ramclam was in deep slumber inside one of the bedrooms when a fire broke around midnight and quickly spread to consume the entire building. An off-duty police officer was quick to notify a nearby patrol that alerted Lester and his family, who live in the adjacent concrete structure, they were able to escape unscathed.


Pauline Ramclam

Pauline Ramclam, Sister of Fire Victim

“We were sleeping and I heard a bang on my window and when I opened the window—I asked who it was and they said it was the police and when I opened the window, I saw the building engulfed in flames. And so I hurriedly got up, woke up my boys and told them go and get their dad because he was in the house sleeping. And so they went over and they got him. He was in deep smoke at the time and they got him and all of us managed to get over, across the street, to safety.”


Kenneth Mortis, Station Supervisor, National Fire Service

“When our fire-fighting team arrived on the location, we observed that that particular building was already fully engulfed in flames which led us to believe that the fire had been burning for some time. However, with fire-fighting efforts, we managed to bring that fire under control.”


There is no evidence to suggest that the fire was caused by a faulty electrical wiring, but the speculation is that the fire was deliberately set. Today, when fire officials returned to the scene to do its investigation, clean up had already begun and evidence to confirm arson had already been removed.



“Have you all been able to determine or at least provided any sort of initial theories as to what happened?”


Kenneth Mortis

Kenneth Mortis

“Well the theory is out there. We did go on the scene this morning to conduct an investigation to support such theory, however the family probably moved a whole lot quicker than we did because when we got there, majority of the remains of the building was already cleared out which posed as a hindrance to us in terms of trying to conclude what we were hearing. We heard that the fire was an apparent intentionally set one whereby old lumber and tires and so forth were placed under the building and then was lit with Mister Lester in there. Like I said, the remains of the initial part of the building that the fire started from was already cleared out hence it hampered our investigation, but that doesn’t mean that it is closed there from our standpoint. We still plan on doing some sample collecting to ascertain if any sort of accelerant was used to support such theory.”


Pauline Ramclam says that at this time, the family cannot fathom that anyone would have wanted to hurt her brother or any member of the family.


Pauline Ramclam

“It’s a deep pain; I am telling you. Getting up in the morning and finding that everything is gone, it feels like somebody just died for you. It is painful. We are people who do not interfere with anybody; we don’t have anything with anybody. We’ve lived here all our lives. All my children have grown here so it is puzzling. It puzzles me as well and it would really pain my heart if it was arson. It would pain my heart because how can somebody have a heart like that. If it is arson, it would definitely have to be attempt murder because my brother was in the building sleeping.”


Today, B.E.L. linesmen and personnel from the cable company were out on the scene repairing damaged wires.  Meanwhile the Ramclam family says that they are trying to recover because Lester’s life’s work went up in flames and he escaped with only the clothes on his back.


Pauline Ramclam

“My brother only ended up with the clothes on his back. Everything, everything was lost.  I have four boys in school. Right now, they are not able to do classes because we lost all utilities, everything. So we are just on a limbo.”


Duane Moody for News Five.


Anyone who would like to assist the Ramclam family can contact them at cell phone numbers: 626-5926 or 629-7526.

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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