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Dec 4, 2009

Two homes burnt due to faulty water pump in Caye Caulker

Two families in Caye Caulker will be spending Christmas without their homes following a midday fire. Fortunately, no one was hurt but the families lost all their belongings. The Fire Department experienced mechanical problems and could not contain the blaze from spreading to an adjacent house which was also destroyed. If that sounds familiar, it’s because only two weeks ago, another fire caused over seven hundred thousand dollars in damages in Caye Caulker when the Fire Department’s pump again malfunctioned. Here is News Five’s Marion Ali with that story from La Isla Carinosa.

Marion Ali, Reporting
Chief Firefighter on Caye Caulker, Mitchell Lewis, told News Five that they got a call at twelve-fifteen this afternoon about a duplex on fire.

Mitchell Lewis, Chief Fireman, Caye Caulker
“Two different families live in the house. The fire started in the bedroom in the southeast corner of the house. The family that lives in front, when I interview Mr. Frank Reynolds, he said he smell smoke so he come outside fi come si if any one ah ih neighbour house deh pan fire cause he smell di smoke. He noh believe dat dah di next apartment right next to him was burning.”

Fire officials quickly responded, but mechanical problems allowed the blaze to quickly spread to a second house. It is a problem Lewis says needs urgent attention.

Mitchell Lewis
“The pump mi di give we wah lee hard start so di people weh di help fi try turn di pump, when ih get it start dehn mi still deh round di pump. Di pier give way and di pump fell in the water. When it fell in the water, it shut down. So we mi have wah next standby pump here. We came back at the station, we got the next pump and went back. We start dah one and den we start fight di fire.”

Marion Ali
“By this time now the family had lost most if not all of their belongings.”

Mitchell Lewis
“Yes, by this time the house was already destroyed. Yes it displayed the same problem when the five buildings burned the other day. The firefighter who was working, it was raining and the pump got wet from the rain and that what mek di pump was hard to start.”

The two buildings belonged to Shedrock Ash and his family who lost everything. The family is upset over the dysfunctional pump.

Shedrock Ash, Fire Victim
“Everything is gone; everything is gone. I mean all the furniture, everything is gone. What they need to do is try to get some better equipment out here.”

Saturino Sotz, Helped Fight Fire
“The pump cannot function so I could seh too that the pump is totally—it’s not the fireman fault, it’s the pump because when the pump is not working the fireman cannot do nothing and the house is on fire. The fire is not waiting for nothing.”

Although the cause of the blaze has not yet been determined, Caye Caulker police are questioning a few of the occupants of the duplex. Reporting for News Five, Marion Ali.

To add insult to injury, the pier caved in under the weight of a crowd trying to assist. Luckily no one got hurt.

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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