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Feb 8, 2023

Fire Officials Say Fire that Destroyed House Was Accidentally Set

A house was destroyed by fire in Belize City on Tuesday evening, but the issue is a sensitive one because fire officials say the blaze was an incendiary one, which means it was set, but the person who occupied the house is someone whose father believes needs psychiatric evaluation. The house at number 8098 Balan Street in the Lake Independence area was owned by Arturo Augustine and he told News Five that he has been having issues with his son, Justo Augustine. Fire officials did say the fire was unintentionally set and it was perhaps an accident. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.


Marion Ali, Reporting

One of three houses that stood inside this yard on Balan Street was totally destroyed by fire around four on Tuesday evening. Police say that Justo Augustine reported that upon entering his house, he observed it was on fire. The house did not have power supply and today, Station Supervisor with the Belize National Fire Service, Kenneth Mortis told reporters that the blaze was more of an accident.


Kenneth Mortis

Kenneth Mortis, Station Supervisor, Belize National Fire Service

“It was an incendiary cause, not one of a malicious intent, one more of negligence, so we’d classify that as negligent use of open flames.”


Marion Ali

“And it started where in the house?”


Kenneth Mortis

“In the living room area of his house.”


Mortis said that there were several gallons of fuel inside Justo Augustine’s house, the purpose for which is unknown. He added that if fire fighters did not respond quickly, the blaze could have easily spread to the other two houses in the yard. Justo’s father, Arturo Augustine lost around ten thousand dollars in the blaze. He wasn’t at home at the time but blames his son.


Arturo Augustine

Arturo Augustine, Home Owner

“I gone borrow a tool, stopped by Mr. Jenkins deh di buy a cigarette when I hear the first boom. Soh my neighbour from cross deh seh Mr Teddy yoh house di bun down. I seh impossible cause nothing eena my house deh on. Yoh understand? Soh the man seh Mr Teddy yoh house di bun down. Then I hear boom again and when I hear boom again I decide fi look round and I see this ball ah smoke gwein up eena the air and then we run come cross ya and we see that the house under fire. This man do some ridiculous things weh I nuh know. The other day da back deh ih mi di ketch first. I nuh know, like ih just mess with fire. First da mi over ya soh that’s why yoh see I bar that thing deh cause the man di look fi ketch the whole bathroom back deh so fire.”


We met Justo Augustine, who told us he was upset, and that he was at home when the fire started, but he does not know how it started.


Justo Augustine

Justo Augustine, Lost everything in fire

“When I gwein out my bicycle missing and I get frustrated and I gone inside under wa vexation and when I come out back I seh this house wa ketch fire. And when I see the house deh pahn fire.”


Marion Ali

How did it catch fire?


Justo Augustine

“From fronta the door with the gas and the uhm – with gas.”


Marion Ali

You lit it?


Justo Augustine

“I neva light it but the gas mi deh right deh and I spill the gas.”


Marion Ali

So where did the fire come from – a cigarette, a box of matches, a lighter?


Justo Augustine

“I nuh know da what, Miss. The house just ketch fire.”

Justo Augustine lost all his belongings and is now staying with his brother in another house in the yard. Marion Ali 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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