A family of 14 – three sisters, their husbands and 8 children who lived off Boots Crescent in Belize City are fortunate to be alive after a fire engulfed and destroyed the contents of a container and board trailer house they occupied. It happened after 9 p.m. on Thursday. The fire started in the rear of the Flowers’ home. They constantly had breaker problems and had already decided that after payday today, they would fix it, using candles until then. But bad luck struck first. Teneisha Flowers was the first to become aware of the smoke as she got up to use the restroom while everyone else slept:
Teneisha Flowers, Fire Victim: When I gone close, because I know we turn off the tank and we turn off the stove…so nothing like that wasn’t on. We do that every, every night. And dah when I bus little more, I see the fire ina the back room and all I bawl out was oh my god and I told my lee niece and nephews unu hurry run out; unu run out. I bus the front room to my other sister and I say fire, fire; unu hurry come out.
Her sister, Shirley Flowers speaks to what may have caused the fire:
Shirley Flowers, Fire Victim: The amount of fire in the backroom, the roll coming out; di come this way through the side door and we only coulda mi tell the pikney hurry come out before anybody gets hurt. My stepdaughter run back and went for my five year old daughter. She managed to get her out and as she come down the step, a puff of fire blow behind her. We lost a lot of household items, stereo, TV, bureau, laptop, bicycle…everything, lot of things. the only thing weh we save dah a lee bit of clothes weh we try pick out and out aside weh we think we could use until we get help.
Duane Moody, Reporter: What do you think could have started the fire?
Shirley Flowers, Fire Victim: Well I think a candle that my niece light and ih drop on the mattress and that blow off the fire.
Shirley Flowers, Fire Victim: Well she was using candle because the house have a short and if we could play with the breaker and the breaker make the whole light come on ina the house. sometimes when we drop asleep, the backroom noh have light and they don’t come and tell us. They just do their own thing in the backroom. They light the candle and then we noh know what else they do but after that fire.
This afternoon, Station Chief for the National Fire Service, Orin Smith, confirmed the circumstances of the fire on Boots Crescent. He was asked whether, with so many persons occupying a very small structure and the confirmed source of the fire being close to one of the exits, whether the family was lucky to have escaped alive: The Service needed just seven firefighters and five minutes to control and end the fire. Smith says they varied their tactics to control this fire, which took place inside a zinc and iron structure nestled between two wooden houses. Most of the firefighting thus took place inside, not affecting the nearby structures. Meanwhile, the family, who are currently staying with relatives, has been living at the house for the past 18 years. The house was uninsured and belonged to their mother who lives in the US. The eight children are in Infant One up to sixth form. You can call Shirley Flowers at 631 3985, Halima Flowers at 6350677 and Rosalyn Flowers at 631 1221.