At about 12:30 p.m. on December 20th, the Zaak Ba Ajo palapa restaurant and bar located on the lagoon in the San Juan area caught fire and was completed destroyed.
Two customers were in the restaurant having lunch when they saw flames coming from the roof, just above the dining area. The customers informed the chef who was in the kitchen at the time of the fire and they evacuated the building. The owner of the business, Mr. Francisco Nuéez, and the manager, Mr. John Chivers, were not there at the time of the fire. Mrs. Nuéez had just arrived from church when the building caught fire. The fire department was called immediately and they arrived within minutes. The police were also called and responded immediately. According to Sergeant Melbourne Alvarez, the fire department could not use their equipment to assist in the extinguishing of the fire due to mechanical problems. Mr. Nuéez managed to locate a water pump which they used to extinguish the flames but they could not save the building. The staff and Nuéez family managed to save several pieces of furniture and one of the glass sliding doors.
According to John Chivers, they had just stocked up on supplies for the Christmas holidays and they suffered a substantial loss. According to the police report, the damage to the building is estimated at $100,000.00 and the total loss of the contents in the building is $207,000.00. The building was insured by Atlantic Insurance Company.
As of press time the cause of the fire was not determined. The police are investigating the incident while the San Pedro Fire Department has declined to give a statement to the San Pedro Sun. Mr. Castillo of the San Pedro Fire Department, said that Mr. Smith, the operations officer of the Belize Fire Service, was visiting San Pedro and that he would make a statement. Mr. Smith arrived in San Pedro after this newspaper went to press.
Francisco Nuéez said they would rebuild, probably on a smaller scale and would be open soon.
Copyright 1997, San Pedro Sun. Design by Casado Internet Group