Fiery Easter Weekend for SPPD

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 15            April 16, 2009

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The fire in San Juan was put out before it spread to the rest of the buildings.

The brush fire was quickly put out. (Photo courtesy of Ace Photographer Luis Caliz)

The fire in the DFC home destroyed one room and caused damage to the building.

There were two fires over the long Easter weekend and a third mid-week, which saw the San Pedro Fire Department swing into full action. The first fire incident took place on Saturday night and according to Hilberto Ruiz from the San Pedro Fire Department (SPFD), at approximately 10:20 p.m., they responded to the scene of a fire in the San Juan Area. Information from the Fire Department reveals that they responded with two trucks and upon arrival, they observed a zinc structure measuring seven feet by twenty feet fully engulfed in flames. The fire was quickly brought under control before it spread to the nearby structures. Preliminary investigations point to arson but the cause of fire is still under investigation. The owner of the building has been identified as Hector Munga but at the time of the incident Santiago Ortunio was the tenant residing there. While the house was uninsured, the cost of the structure has been estimated at $500 while the contents are estimated at $3,000.

    The second fire incident took place on Easter Monday. According to fire personnel, at about 1:30 p.m., they received several calls from residents in the San Pablo Area of San Pedro Town of a large fire smoldering in the vicinity. When fire personnel arrived, they observed thick smoke covering a large area of San Pablo and the DFC Subdivision. Closer inspection revealed that a large empty lot with overgrown bushes was on fire. The fire alarmed nearby residents who were threatened by the flames and smoke emanating from the blaze. The fire was eventually brought under control and extinguished. No personal belongings were destroyed in the fire, but fire personnel are strongly urging property owners to ensure that their lots remain clean to prevent bush fires, especially during the hot, dry season.

    The third fire took place on Wednesday, April 15th on Manta Ray Street within the DFC Subdivision just after 11:00 a.m. Luckily, neighbors who saw smoke and flames stemming out of house windows, lent a helping hand moments after. The fire partially destroyed one of the bedrooms, while some of the household items received smoke and water damage. The house is occupied by Nelson Neal “Kalaka” Martinez, Carlos Gerardo Martinez and two other people identified only as Will and Pablo. Carlos, the only person at home at the time of the fire, told police that he was awakened by the heat and smoke of the fire and realized that the bed next to him and part of the wall was already engulfed in flames. He managed to make it safely outside where neighbors continued to assist in extinguishing the fire. According to the police, preliminary investigations have revealed that the cause of fire may be due to electrical failure, specifically, a malfunctioning electrical fan found plugged into an outlet in one of the walls. The estimate of the damage is unknown at this time and their investigations continue.
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