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Aug 10, 2021

Family of 15 Displaced by Fire in Caye Caulker

A fire broke out early this morning in Caye Caulker Village. The windy weather did not help, so despite efforts to extinguish the raging fire, it spread, robbing a family of fifteen of all they had been working for.  But as News Five’s Duane Moody found out, the island really is aptly nicknamed La Isla Cariñosa as residents turned out to show their love and support for the devastated fire victims. 


Stephanie Dominguez, Fire Victim

“I know I work hard. I work really, really hard fi give my family what they deserve; fu make everything just go down ina wah hole. That hurt; that really hurt. I really, really di experience things weh other people go pan news and say dehn house burn down. That hurt. I noh wish it fi nobody; not even fi my enemies dehn.”


Duane Moody, Reporting

It was an overwhelming experience for Stephanie Dominguez and her family as they stood a short distance away watching as the place they called home burned to the ground. They escaped with their lives and the clothes on their backs. But everything else, their life’s work and that of their mother’s was reduced to charred rubble.


Stephanie Dominguez

Stephanie Dominguez

“When I look, my whole window weh I wash dishes done deh ina fire. When we [put] on the light, all ah my house smoky, smoky, like black smoky. All the flames di come out from my ground, well from the floor. And that dah when I grab my baby and I just shoot it outside. That’s when I start bawl fi everybody. That dah when dehn come out. When I see, my whole house deh ina fire. Like this; I couldn’t save my purse, nothing – like this, me and my baby get burn – like this.”


The fire broke inside Dominguez’s house and quickly spread to consume her mother’s two-storey wooden structure and then her sister’s. Leslie Verde was able to get her purse and I.D.s, but everything else was gone.


Leslie Verde

Leslie Verde, Fire Victim

“I was in my bed when my common-law came in and he said there is a fire, get up. I thought he was playing at first and I was like leave me to sleep. So he left and when he came back, he was like fire. Get up, get up! Grab what you can grab. I still didn’t believe it so I ran to her house and when I ran there, I saw her house is on fire already. I ran inside and I got what I coulda get like my purse and social security and stuff and that’s all I coulda do.”


Chairlady Seleny Villanueva-Pott joined residents from the Bahia area as they came out to render assistance just after two a.m. when the distress call was made. By that time, the fire department had already responded, but they were experiencing issues with getting water going.


Seleny Villanueva-Pott

Seleny Villanueva-Pott, Chairlady, Caye Caulker Village Council

“It’s a distance from the middle of the village so when we got there, the back structure was gone already and the front structure was in flames. It was big, it was scary to be honest. And the firemen were trying their best. They tried to start the fire truck and they had some difficulties. They had to reroute the main source of water and that’s when they got through and they started to do their work. When we got there, they had moved the homeowner already to the health center; she was not in the best condition. She is a hard working lady, she just built her home and anybody would have been distraught. But it was sombre and scary watching the firemen trying to get the fire truck started and some people trying to help. Unfortunately, they had a small bucket brigade going, but it wasn’t as big.”


Duane Moody

“How mommy di do?”


Stephanie Dominguez

“Well dehn ker she dah clinic because her pressure gone up so right now she noh really good. Every minute dehn di ker ahn dah clinic because if ih pressure noh go down, she could ketch a heart attack.”


A total of fifteen family members are now without a roof over their heads; eight adults and seven children. The Community Disaster Response Team has kicked into high gear to provide support to the family during this time. Today they were actively receiving donations and the team was coordinating relief efforts.


Seleny Villanueva-Pott

“Last night the daughter put them up at a place where she lives so they immediately had somewhere to stay. She fed them this morning, a business owner provided lunch, another individual will provide dinner. The calls immediately started to come in on how we could help. The CDRT immediately activated; Miss Bonnie was on it how can we help. We opened the community center and donations are trickling in slowly.”


Leslie Verde

“We started off on zero and we are going to do it again. And trust me it is going to be lot easier because people are going to help, but like what I tell my friends, it is heartbreaking because we worked so hard of it to just let it go like that. It will always be in our hearts and it hurts because it touched a family that was trying.”


Stephanie Dominguez

“We noh di ask fi no money. We noh want nobody just come and give we money. You could give we plywood, wah zinc, wah two-by-four, di smallest ah thing fi build we house back. It could be outta wood weh you bruk outta yo house. It could have a hole and we still want it right now; anything wah work.”


Despite experience a huge loss, the family is thankful that no one was injured in the fire. Duane Moody for News Five.


If you would like to assist the family, Leslie Verde can be contacted at 636-2070.

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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