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Nov 30, 2020

A Family of 6 is Displaced by Weekend Fire

In the wee hours of Saturday, police and fire fighters responded to a fire at the corner of Meighan and Vasquez Avenues in Belize City. Six members of the Budna family, including children, luckily escaped with their lives after the fire quickly engulfed their home. An investigation suggests that the fire was a result of faulty electrical wiring. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Today, the Budna family was rummaging through charred rubble, looking for anything salvageable, following a fire at a two-storey concrete house at the corner of Meighan and Vasquez Avenues in the King’s Park area of Belize City. It was home to the Budnas for the past eight years, but in the wee hours of Saturday, a fire broke on the upper flat of the building. It quickly spread and consumed the house. Jeremiah Budna, who lives in the lower flat, was awakened by the blaze.


Jeremiah Budna

Jeremiah Budna, Fire Victim

“I was sleeping, I get up, I see flames starting to drop and it get worse and worse and I take the hose and I di try out it. I notice that was no use to it cause the house is already kinda old; well noh kinda cause den yah house dah from the seventies. So I went upstairs, gone and hail for mi sister. And when I look, it was so sad because the little girl was right beside her sleeping and the other one deh by ih foot. So dehn didn’t know anything. The flame mi di get so thick and big and with all of the smoke.”


Luckily, the family was able to escape unhurt, but lost everything in the blaze.


Jeremiah Budna

“Run over the road over there, but we couldn’t do anything because the flames mi done reach over the veranda and done mi di come from underneath of the flooring. Everything gone; zip zap. It’s a hurtful feeling, but what can you do? Yo thank God that yo still got life cause to bring back life is very hard and very rough.”


Duane Moody

“And it was fully furnished, so refridge, stove…”


Jeremiah Budna

“…everything. Sofa set, everything.”


Duane Moody

“How do you recover from this?”


Jeremiah Budna

“We di try recover, but thank God, by the help of God we are getting help and assistance from others around we.”


According to Budna and the National Fire Service, the inferno was caused by faulty wires, which the family says they had reported to the landlord.


Jeremiah Budna

“Upstairs by side of the backroom by where the bathroom deh. It’s a report that we give so much time fi mek di landlord dehn come and fix dehn wire deh.”


Kenneth Mortis

Kenneth Mortis, Station Supervisor, National Fire Service

“This is a fire that took place sometime after one and residents and occupants were asleep so it was a bit baffling as to what could have contributed to this inferno at that time of the morning. So after the fire was extinguished, we visited the scene where an extensive investigation was conducted into determining the cause of the fire and the origin. So we learnt that the two-storey structure was a family oriented residence which left a total of six family members, age ranging from four to forty, basically homeless.  We dug further and learnt that history has shown that that particular building was experiencing some electrical problems for some time now and the occupants had indeed tried to make it known to the owner of the building. Unfortunately, their complaints weren’t heeded to and hence the reason over time, this family suffered the fate that they suffered over the weekend.”


But was there negligence on the part of the landlord, who failed to maintain the building. Station Supervisor Kenneth Mortis spoke of other findings during their post-fire investigation.


Kenneth Mortis

“When we did the aftermath, we learnt that several outlets were functioning, several light switches weren’t functioning. This in turn forced the family members to use a multitude of extension cords to try to suffice the building with the electricity that it desperately needed.”


The family is now staying with relatives as they try to recover all their personal documents that were destroyed in the fire. Duane Moody for News Five.

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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