BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 16, 2017–Louise Berry, 86, an unemployed resident of Iguana Street, was burned to death inside her house when it became engulfed in flames at about 1:30 this morning. Berry was sleeping in her one-flat lumber house when the fire began, and due to the thick black smoke, she was unable to escape. Her corpse was found on the floor of the house by the door, as if she had been trying to escape.
The City Fire Service responded quickly and contained the fire to Berry’s house, and put out the fire.
Gretel Lopez, Berry’s stepsister, who lived in the same yard in which Berry resided, told us during an interview this morning that Louise lived alone in her little house. Gretel said that electrical power was provided to the home by Belize Electricity Limited, and there was no need for her to use candles in her house.
On many occasions, she said, she would go into Berry’s house and find candles, and she would take them away, but Berry would say that she wanted her candles, because sometimes there were power outages at night.
Gretel said that last night she went to bed and at about 1:30 a.m., she was awakened by her son, who was shouting “fire! fire!” and she saw the house engulfed in flames.
Her sons tried to force their way into the house, but by that time the house was engulfed in flames. Three fire trucks went to the scene quickly and the firemen put out the fire and went into the house and took Berry out, but she had already been burned to death.
Gretel strongly believes that the candles caused the fire.
Gretel said that she was raised by Berry’s mother since she was a child and has known Louise all her life, so she is devastated by the horrible and agonizing death of her stepsister.
Louise Berry is well-known and would always be seen near Brodies, selling Belize Times on Albert Street. She was also a part of the Women’s Group of the PUP, and loved to participate in their group activities, and their parades.
Louise Berry is survived by her brother, stepsister, many relatives and friends, and the PUP Women’s Group. Arrangements for her funeral have not yet been made.