The 2015 Fire Season has just started and already two major hotels have caught fire. In Belize City, a major catastrophe was averted when a fire broke out on Wednesday night at the city’s popular entertainment centre, the Ramada Belize City Princess. Patrons in mid-bet as well hotel guests and employees had to be evacuated en mass on the Barracks as the fire alarm went off.  At the nearby Calypso Restaurant, customers and employees were also quickly removed from the premises. The fire started in the laundry room and threatened to spread to the casino. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Less than twenty-four hours after an inferno destroyed three resort buildings in San Pedro Town, personnel from the National Fire Service in Belize City were dispatched to the Ramada Princess Hotel and Casino.  There they were met by employees and patrons of the establishment who had been evacuated during the alarm.  According to one of the workers, who asked to remain anonymous, the fire was detected inside the laundry room where an industrial dryer was in service.  This was verified by earlier today by operations officer Benisford Matura of the fire department.

Benisford Matura

Benisford Matura, Operations Officer, National Fire Service

“Upon arrival we discovered that it was not really a kitchen fire but actually it was in the laundry room and it was an industrial dryer.  Basically they have two industrial fires within the laundry room and they were drying some sheets and one of the motor they were drying some sheets.”

Fortunately, a maintenance man, as well as a security officer, both in the vicinity at the time, happened upon the smoke emanating out of the facility.  They sprung into action immediately, each grabbing a nearby fire extinguisher and dousing the flames.

Benisford Matura

“One of the motor from one of them probably overheated and caught fire.  Luckily there was an attendant at the laundry room, [he] discovered it and got into action and extinguished it with a dry-chemical extinguisher.  So, they did a good job there and with like two extinguishers they put out the dryer that was burning, you know.  But basically it was just the motor of the dryer that was burning and eventually it started to catch like a couple towels and a few sheets but nothing too extravagant.”

Outside, at the southern end of the building employees congregated, awaiting word from management.

Benisford Matura

“Because of the, well we all know the size of the hotel and it was a fire and a fire alarm for the lower flat, the ground floor.  They did evacuate all the employees from the casino and the customers.  The evacuation was made from the restaurant itself and also from the employee section in the laundry room and the kitchen.  So they did have an evacuation in place to evacuate people from the immediate area.”

News Five attempted to get a comment from the management of the Princess but our efforts were futile. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Channel 5