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Mar 7, 2023

Two Houses Destroyed in Lake I Fire

A fire spread quickly to consume two structures in the Lake Independence area around ten-thirty on Sunday morning. The property in which the fire broke had an illegal electrical drop and within minutes, an adjacent two-storey concrete and wooden structure that housed two families began burning. Fortunately, everyone got out before the buildings were gutted. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

On Sunday morning, police and firefighters were called out to a fire on Estela Metzgen Street in the Lake Independence area of Belize City. They arrived to find one structure completely destroyed by fire and another engulfed in flames.


Kenneth Mortis

Kenneth Mortis, Station Supervisor, National Fire Service

“This one wooden structure – it was in the care of a local Belizean because the owner is in the U.S. and then the fire department was made to understand that the occupants of this particular building became squatters themselves; they made comfortable in this home that wasn’t rightfully theirs. The evidence shows that this building had the wiring coming directly from the B.E.L. pole to their structure and then subdivided within the various rooms. It was another unfortunate Sunday mid-morning whereby again, the electrical breakdown consumed this building and then created massive damage, displacing two family members to the neighbouring structure.”


The second structure is owned by Mark Burgess, but each flat was rented to separate tenants. He received a call from residents in the area that his house was on fire.


Kenneth Mortis

“One Mister Palacio who was the sole occupant of the upstairs structure and a lady, Miss Cruz and her ten-year-old minor, they were the occupants of the lower flat. These people were displaced by the fire and the building was owned by Mister Mark Burgess so he himself sustained massive loss as a result of this fire Sunday morning.”


Duane Moody

“Were anybody injured in this fire?”


Kenneth Mortis

“Fortunately, no injuries were reported to the fire department. I say fortunately because when we arrived on the scene, we were told that just before the fire erupted into the massive inferno that it did, the occupants of the building were seen fleeing the building.”


Residents speak of the heat emanating from the area being felt a distance away, there are many trees from neighbouring properties that were scorched. The fire department did manage to prevent the fire from spreading even farther, but could they have saved Burgess’ property? Station Supervisor for the National Fire Service Kenneth Mortis explains.


Kenneth Mortis

“Our initial team made a defensive effort to the south of the current structure. The wind direction was blowing in a south easterly fashion so we had to do fire coverage exposure for that close building. It was in a blink of an eye that the breeze then turn the direction and unfortunately that was when Mister Burgess property caught fire. Strategic location is key in the initial stage and once we execute that and we have to relocate and readjust, that’s when time-consuming efforts come in. I understand Mister Burgess’ concern, I understand his complaint. We do not control the element of the weather. We cannot respond to an emergency fire scene and tell the breeze be still. All I can say is that I am at a loss that he had to suffer the loss because of Sunday morning’s event.”


Neither of the properties nor the contents was insured. 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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