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Dec 19, 2022

Elderly Woman Perishes in Fire

An investigation continues into the death of an elderly woman on Sunday morning in Belize City. The eighty-three-year-old resident of Rasta Street was inside her concrete bungalow house when a fire broke out. She was trapped inside her room with no way to escape. Neighbours came out, and police also arrived on the scene and spoke with Elita Elswith Coleman, but could not get her out. By the time fire-fighters arrived and extinguished the blaze, Coleman was already dead. News Five’s Duane Moody reports. 


Duane Moody, Reporting

Just after twelve in the wee small hours of Sunday, a fire broke inside a house on Rasta Street in Belize City. It was the home of eighty-three-year-old Elita Elswith Coleman who was inside her room at the time of the inferno. There were screams for help and responding police spoke with her from the room window, but could not save her.


Fitzroy Yearwood

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Director, Belize Police Department

“Our officers on the scene held a conversation with Miss Elita. We had two officers that arrived on the scene and actually saw her in that house. I know it is very traumatic for them. Like I said, it is a very sad day for us.”


The body of the elderly woman was discovered with burn injuries after the fire was extinguished. Neighbours tell News Five that Coleman was living in the U.S. and returned to Belize back in October. She lived in the concrete house and would have a caregiver from Monday to Friday and then on weekends, would have relatives check in on her.


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

“Police responded sometime around 12:30 a.m. on the eighteenth of December to a fire scene on Rasta Street where they saw a green cement house totally engulfed in flame. The officers that arrived on the scene made several efforts to gain entry to that home, but their efforts were futile. The house was properly burglar barred; that may have prevented them gaining entry. The fire department arrived on the scene, they managed to extinguish the fire, but it was too late for Miss Elita who perished as a result of that fire.”


The National Fire Service has since informed the police that a faulty washing machine caused the fire.


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

“The fire department sent us a preliminary result from an investigation and they are saying that this fire may have started from a washing machine, a faulty washing machine, that was in this house. So that is what we have so far.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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