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Oct 13, 2020

20 Persons are Displaced by Partridge Street Fire in the City

As many as twenty persons are without roofs over their heads tonight.  A fire on Friday night completely destroyed an apartment complex located on Partridge Street in Belize City.  The fire started at apartment one where a four-year-old child was playing with a lighter; the blaze quickly spread throughout the building which housed eight families. The Fire Department was called, but it ran out of water from its tanks and to make a bad situation worse, its efforts were hindered by live wires running in the area of the fire.  Here is News Five’s Duane Moody with a report.


Ermon Tillett, Fire Victim

“Everything get destroyed. Everybody TV, washing machine, internet line, sofa, sink.”


Duane Moody, Reporting

A wooden apartment complex with eight rooms that housed some twenty persons between the ages of two and seventy-five once stood at this property on Partridge Street in Belize City. But on Saturday night, a fire broke inside apartment number one and quickly spread to engulf the entire complex and today, all that’s left standing are the charred remains of the first floor; everything else has been destroyed.


Alejandro Cowo

Supt. Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Eastern Division

“Just before midnight, police responded to a house fire at the corner of Partridge Street and Haulze Street where upon arrival they observed a two-storey building engulfed in flames. The fire department came in and assisted with the outing of the fire; unfortunately, the entire house was completely destroyed. It was an eight-bedroom apartment which was being utilized at the time by eight different families.”


Ermon Tillett lived in one of the apartments on the lower flat with his wife and children. They were already sleeping when they realised that the place was on fire. Luckily, they escaped unhurt, but lost all their household items and belongings to the blaze. This morning, he was back at the site trying to see what could be salvaged from the rubble.


Ermon Tillett

Ermon Tillett

“Everybody mi di sleep about eleven o’clock. Everybody get up and meet wah ball of fire pan di end there just di ketch. Everybody mi di try fi save the fire, but dehn can’t because the current end up di bounce back when yo throw water. The fire truck end up the come and try out it.”


An investigation has since revealed that the fire was caused by a child who was left unattended in apartment number one and was playing with a lighter.


Kenneth Mortis, Station Supervisor, National Fire Service

“We can conclude that that particular fire started from the number one apartment of that complex and spread to consume the balance of the building. We can also conclude that the fire started as a result of the parents of the children left them unattended whereby the four-year-old for that family was playing with a lighter and therefore caused fire to the structure that eventually caused the balance of the building to being destroyed and leaving the family members displaced.”


Kenneth Mortis

Now amateur footage from the night of the fire indicates that the fire truck had exhausted its water supply and there were also issues with fire-fighting due to an exposed live wire at the property. Station Supervisor Kenneth Mortis explains the hindrances on scene.


Kenneth Mortis

“Even though we were hindered by the fireworks caused by the electrical wiring, we managed to eventually bring that fire under control and fire-fighting operation continued.  While our initial response might be deterred due to the fact that we have live electrical wires on the scene, as fire-fighters we can only exercise caution in trying to extinguish these fires. However tragic the event might seem or however riled up neighbours and residents of these building might get, it is within our just training to maintain our composure. We ran out of water from the tank. Our trucks carry roughly fifteen hundred gallons of water between both of them. Yes we had the canal that was right in front of the structure. And in lifting operation in trying to continue sustain the flow of water to the fire scene. Unfortunately, our primary truck sustained some mechanical damage that prevented us from doing so hence the initial suppression of the fire had rekindled. After doing some re-strategizing and different some techniques that was when we finally managed to contain a continuous flow of water to the fire scene.”


Tillett and the other tenants are trying pick up the pieces, literally, but are in need of assistance especially during these COVID times where many are without jobs and basic income.


Ermon Tillett

“Everybody weh deh dah this place mi di work hard and try uplift themselves and try fi get something weh dah fi dehn from the government. But everybody just want society help and try help out. Even if dehn could get a lee something; anything wah help. Wah lee shirt, wah lee pants, anything. Dah noh just di money.”


Duane Moody for News Five.


Anyone willing to assist these families can reach Ermon Tillett at cell phone number 662-8613.

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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