Arson in Placencia, three businesses go up in flames
A string of fires broke early Sunday morning in Placencia. It started at a well known restaurant, but by the time that fire was contained two more establishments had been set ablaze. Villagers and tourists joined the firemen to put out the blaze at the thatch roofed buildings that were dangerously close to other businesses. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.
Delahnie Bain, reporting
The remnants of two destroyed businesses in Placencia and damages to a third are all that remain from a fire that wreaked havoc on the village early Sunday morning. De’Tatch Restaurant and Bar was the first to be set on fire and quick work by the villagers enabled it to open for business today. Advisor, Fred Mueller, who filled in as a cashier on Saturday night stayed back to work on the computers and says he heard the culprit before he saw the flames.
Fred Mueller, Advisor, De’Tatch
“I go out to look but I don’t get a chance to look because I see the fire start. So the first thing I do was to throw some water on the fire. I made some phone calls to get help and some people showed up and we put the thing out.”
Ysela Zabaneh, Owner, Z-Touch Salon
“At about twenty to two a.m. we were all out at the Tipsy Tuna when we smelled the smoke coming from De’tatch fire and they contained that in about twenty minutes.”
The second establishment, Sunrise Restaurant and Bar, was completely gutted after it was set ablaze about a half hour later.
Karl Lovell, Owner, Sunrise Seafood Restaurant & Bar
“I went to bed around one-thirty. It was a party so a lot of people were out. I got up around two and saw the back of the thatch on fire. I mean it’s a thatch place so it spread very quickly and as you can see it all just went down from there.”
“At about two-thirty we came home and I was already inside undressed and saw the flames coming through my bathroom window from the Sunrise thatch, my neighbor. So I made the alarm and everybody came out and started wetting down my house trying to out that but we knew that was going to go up.”
Before fire officials and villagers could put out the inferno at Sunrise, smoke started rising from another nearby restaurant, Serenade.
“Everybody came running out and then we heard the big alarm about the Serenade on fire also. So there were two fires going at the same time, people trying to out both of them. We were up until like six a.m.”
Voice of: Cordelia Teul, Mgr, Serenade Guest House & Restaurant
“The first thing I heard was people screaming outside fire, fire. I was asleep and when I woke up and looked through my window and when I woke up I saw the thatch is already on fire. I ran outside and asked for help. They went into my room and take out the stuff that they can save. They put it along the side of the hotel and people just came by and started to help.”
With three blazes in less than two hours, the fire officials had their hands full. Chief of the Peninsula Volunteer Fire Department, Kathy Anglin, says they got the job done with the help of the residents.
Kathy Anglin, Chief, Peninsula Volunteer Fire Department
“The first fire we had was at De’Tatch and that was started at approximately one-ten maybe. We checked that one out and then the one here at Sunrise. I’m not sure exactly as to the time but it could have been thirty to forty-five minutes after the one at De’Tatch. And while we were setting up to put water on this fire—well when we first started flowing water is when we had someone come up to me and say that Serenade was on fire, which is a little further south from here. So half the crew had to go down there and half the village had to go down there and I think they should applaud themselves because everyone of them did a great job.”
Investigations are underway and police have questioned several persons and have one in custody. And while the restaurants seem like easy targets because of the thatch roofs, it’s Lovell’s second fire in two months and he feels someone is out to bring him down. But says he’s not giving up just yet.
“Two months ago we had a fire right here. This also belongs to me. I don’t know—it’s hard to not think that somebody has a grudge against me but I don’t see why. I’m definitely not gonna give up. Actually I’m thinking about opening—I’m just gonna put up a tent and I still have a couple cases of rum and we’re gonna get some beer and we’re gonna open and we’re gonna be open for lobster fest. So come out and support.”
“You naturally come up with many suppositions of who and what but it being that all three places were set ablaze, it was some nut misbehaving. No rhyme or reason. It’s not even a malicious thing; it’s a stupid thing.”
Answers are slow in coming, but the residents of the peninsula are optimistic that the culprit will be brought to justice. While that’s a job for the authorities, the victims are now working on rebuilding what they lost. Delahnie Bain for News Five.