Fire broke out in Belize City on Friday night in an area that has become used to such hazards. A yard on Prince Street, between Albert Street and East Canal, became a hazardous scene that brought hundreds of Belizeans out of their beds just after 8:30 p.m. The top floor of a two-story wooden structure was gutted despite the best efforts of the Fire Service. However, they were able to prevent it from spreading to nearby houses. Area resident and fire victim John Brackett tells us more.
“I was in my bedroom watching television, I didn’t know what was going on outside, until I’ve been alerted by my wife that there is a fire at the upper flat of the building that is next to where I live. I responded first by dialing 911. I also respond by calling the different media houses and ask them to assist me with making calls to the fire station. The fire engine took a little while to reach here, but as soon as they reach they manage they react pretty quickly, in the sense of organizing themselves and do their quick assessment and start to put the fire out.”
John Brackett lived in a bungalow house adjacent to the structure where the fire started and while he was able to keep some belongings from being damaged, the greater majority sustained water damage. One other house in the yard, to the rear of the affected house, was also hit by water damage and a fourth was singed by the flames. Our information is that the Fire Service responded at 8:42 p.m. and quickly had the fire under control. Investigations so far reveal that the fire ignited from the rear corner of the upper flat, where some children were playing with a lighter on a bed. The upper flat was rented by Ian Mahler and the lower by Darren Andrews. The building is owned by a Belizean-American residing in the U.S., and neither it nor its contents were insured. We also spoke with City Councilor responsible for emergency management Philip Willoughby about safety concerns.
Councillor Phillip Willoughby – Member, CEMO
“There are agencies on the ground right now, as we have discussed, that we will use extreme caution to negate anyone or prevent anyone from entering the premises until the investigation has been concluded, because there has to be an investigation, and I believe that the structural integrity of the building has been compromised, and we would need to take down that structure as soon as possible.”