Long-standing Lion loses home to blaze

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 11            March 19, 2009

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The fire was quick and all-consuming, and both wooden structures were lost to the blaze.

Both structures were completely destroyed. Neighbor’s homes received smoke and water damage.

Above, Santos Acosta, Nasa Caliz and Lion Jorge Aldana at the tele-radio-thon.

At least sixteen people are homeless after a fired ripped through two wooden buildings in San Pedro Town. Just around 3:15 on Monday afternoon, fire officials responded to a call of a fire in the Elliott Subdivision in the Airstrip Area. When officials arrived at the scene of the fire at the corners of Esmeralda and Swan Street, two wooden structures, located in the property of well known Lion Member 56-year-old Gonzalo “Reds” Lara, were fully engulfed in flames.

    According to family members, the fire started in one of the rooms in the upper flat of the front building which belongs to 25-year-old Gonzalo Lara Jr. As family members struggled to remove the children from the burning house, the fire quickly moved over to a second building in the same yard. With the help of strong winds at the time of the fire, it took about five minutes for both buildings to be fully engulfed in flames. Both structures measured 20 by 30 feet in size and were reduced to ashes in less than 30 minutes. Flames almost twice the length of a nearby light post extended into the air and before the fire officials reached the scene neighbors began wetting the nearby structures to prevent the fire from spreading. During the fire fighting, three task groups consisting of fire fighters, volunteers, neighbors and even members of the Police Department were formed to fight the fire from various angles.

    The Lara family confirmed to The San Pedro Sun that that a six month old child, identified as Tiarra Shantia Lara, who was in the front building received third degree burns to head, face and both hands before she was passed through a window. The baby was rushed to the San Pedro Poly-Clinic and was later transferred via plane to Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where she is being hospitalized.

    Fire officials explained that they are still trying to ascertain the cause of the fire but authorities strongly believe that it was due to electrical failure. The two buildings were entirely destroyed along with most of their contents. The cost of the damages is unknown at this time and none of the wooden structures were insured. Beside the two wooden structures that were destroyed, a nearby two storey concrete building and some of its contents were partially damaged by flames and water while another wooden building received only heat damage. Fire officials are also estimating and assessing those damages.

Fundraiser for “Reds”

    The community of San Pedro Town banded together to assist Gonzalo “Reds” Lara after his home burnt down on Monday afternoon. A tele-radiothon was held on Wednesday and many were the donations and pledges sent in.

    Another fundraising event will take place at the Lions Den on Sunday, March 22nd, 2009. The day’s activities will include a food and dessert sale, dances and music. Also, monetary donations, household items and clothing will be accepted. Those who wish to make anonymous donations can make deposits at Belize Bank Acct. # 67022247804 or Atlantic Bank Acct. # 211061161. Thanks to all for your kind donations.

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