Fire ravages building Tuesday morning

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 15, No. 23            June 9, 2005

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At approximately 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, residents of Boca del Rio Area in San Pedro Town were jolted out of their sleep by the crackling of a burning fire. Upon opening windows and doors, neighbors discovered that a two-story (cement on the lower floor and wood on the second) house, belonging to Allan Forman Sr., was alit in flames. The house was located across from Papi's Diner.

    By the time the San Pedro Fire Department responded to the call and arrived at the scene, the entire upper flat was completely engulfed. After arriving at approximately 5:10 a.m., the department experienced delays that allowed the fire to burn for a longer time. A few problems encountered were when the water hose, spilled water over everything but the fire, since they were not properly connected to the fire truck. Another problem was that the truck was unable to pump from an "open source" (lagoon or sea) and had to therefore make several rounds to a water source to refill and return.

    San Pedro fire fighters were finally successful in pumping water but by that time the fire had already consumed the entire upper floor. Long awaited rains fell from the skies as if to aid the fire fighters' efforts, but unfortunately nothing could be saved from that floor. The lower floor experienced severe water damage while a golf cart parked on the side of the building was completely burned, as well.

    Reports from Helen Ann Forman, who lived in the lower floor, were that she was unaware that the house was on fire. From speaking with other people, she discovered the upstairs tenants were also oblivious to the fact. A neighbor saw the house ablaze, ran over to the two-story building to notify the sleeping tenants.

    The San Pedro Sun's has learned that the San Pedro Fire Department did not receive any phone calls about the fire until 5:03 a.m., after which they quickly responded. A check with the San Pedro Police Department revealed that officers did not get a call until 5:05 a.m. Officer-in-charge Jerome Garcia reminds the public that for faster response to call the department directly at 226-2372 instead of dialing 911.

    Although a complete investigation on the fire has not been completed, Garcia suspects that from his initial investigations, the fire might have been caused by electrical failure. Losses have not yet been estimated and it is unknown if the house was insured.
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