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Apr 27, 2022

Massive Fire Guts Abandoned Building and Threatened to Destroy Several Homes

There was a huge blaze last night just behind San Cas Warehouse on Cran Street.  A decrepit building which has been vacant for several years was eviscerated when someone set the place on fire. Fortunately, no one perished in the inferno and the damage to property was kept at a minimum, thanks to the concerted effort of neighbors and first responders. In Belize City, a thick plume of smoke could have been seen at a distance, emanating from the burning structure. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

An abandoned, two-storey, wooden structure was devoured by fire on Tuesday night sometime after nine p.m.  Residents on Cran Street were alerted to the smell of thick smoke billowing from the nearby building.  By the time they responded, the property was already engulfed in flames.  A neighbor who spoke with News Five on the condition of anonymity, explained what he observed when he got to the scene of the conflagration moments after receiving a distressed call from his wife.


Voice of: Cran Street Resident

“I was at work, she called me frantically telling me that the house is on fire.  So I tell her to explain, she said the house is on fire, “I can’t come out of the house.”  She felt that the flame and the [were] heat coming from the fire, but I was little confused but I was maybe like a minute or two away and by the time I was driving home, I saw flames high, like maybe two or three storeys high coming on Freetown and coming towards Cran Street.”


When personnel from the National Fire Service arrived at the location they had to contend with the elements.  Strong winds that fed the blaze forced the firemen to rethink their strategy several times before being able to contain the fire.


Kenneth Mortis

Kenneth Mortis, Station Supervisor, National Fire Service

“We extinguished that fire not before facing some of the minor challenges of the nature and the wind and whatnot.  That fire had us shifting our tactics, the wind played a little role and almost had us a bit bamboozled, however, we were successful.  We learned that the building had been abandoned for some time.  The owner, one Ms. Delia Williams who resides in the U.S., had left the building and we gathered that when she did return to Belize it would have been for demolishing and the construction of a new establishment on the property.”


According to the neighbor, the property which was in a state of disrepair had been empty for several years.


Voice of: Cran Street Resident

“From my understanding, it was set on fire because it is an old, abandoned house, nobody lived there for four or five years and somehow it got caught on fire.  By that time when I reached I just tried to get my family out of the house.  All the neighbors were very helpful, we organized to evacuate everybody from all the houses around get everybody to the corner of the street and the fire truck responded real quick.”


It is believed that the fire was set by vagrants who use the place for illicit activities.


Kenneth Mortis

“That was what we gathered as well.  That is a possibility, however, if that is a concrete factor towards the cause of the fire then the possibility to determine that would be next to slim.  [Whatever] means or whatever source they used to acquire heat in that building that’s up for grabs.  We’ve established that the building wasn’t furnished, as we rightly mentioned it was abandoned.  We learned that the building had no electricity.  So your guess is as good as mine indeed, did these alleged street peddlers use that building, I’m gonna say street peddlers for lack of a better word.  Were they the actual illegal occupants of that building?  Did they contribute to the cause of that fire?  Unfortunately, those questions will not be answered as we tried our best to at least have an identifiable person to well he was occupying this building or she was occupying this building.”


While the wooden structure could not be saved, diligent work by the responding firemen prevented extensive damages to several homes in the immediate vicinity.


Voice of: Cran Street Resident

“Half of my roof caught on fire, my garage was on fire also and one of my vehicles got scorched.  The neighbors’ gutters and everything got scorched, you know.  It was a huge fire but thank God the response from everybody helped and nobody got hurt, you know.  We suffered a little bit of property damage and stuff but otherwise, everybody is okay.”


Isani Cayetano reporting 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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