BELIZE CITY, Wed. May 8, 2019– A fire that is believed to have been deliberately set, completely destroyed five houses and all the contents inside them in the Krooman Lagoon Reserve area, in the Collet Division, at about 2:00 Monday afternoon.
Twelve persons were left homeless as a result of the blaze. Luckily no one was hurt.
On our visit to the scene we saw the debris of the houses and a sixth house that remained standing. Its verandah and its front portion, however, were damaged by the flames.
All the houses belong to one family. Keshawn Dennison, 28, one of the family members, told us that he strongly believes that their houses were destroyed to get them off the land. He said that they all went to the area to squat and build their houses, but another family member became greedy, although that relative already occupies two and a half lots.
Apparently, bad blood began to develop between the two families. Dennison told us that since their lot is in front of their relative’s lot, he has to pass through their lot to get to his house. The relative fenced his lot to deny them access to his, Dennison’s land, Dennison said.
At about 1:30 Monday afternoon, there was a quarrel with their relative, who ordered them to move from the area and threatened violence. Dennison said that shortly after, a piece of foam that was burning was thrown over the fence and it landed on the verandah of one of the houses. They quickly put out the fire.
Dennison told us that they went to the Raccoon Street Police Station to make a report on the attempted arson, but when they were at the police station, they received a call that their houses were burning.
They rushed back to their compound and saw their houses engulfed in flames. The Belize Fire Service went to the scene, but on their arrival the houses were already destroyed. The National Fire Service is investigating the fire.
Police have detained a family member pending investigation.
Dennison told us that no one in the reserve has any land ownership documents for the lots, because they are all squatters. We pointed out to him that Mayor Bernard Wagner has embarked on a plan to build houses in another area and they would all be relocated from the Krooman Lagoon Reserve, because it is a catchment area for water that runs off in the area to help stop flooding.
However, the family has lost all their possessions and are seeking help with materials to rebuild their houses, and for other necessary items needed by the family. The estimated value of the destroyed structures is yet to be ascertained.
Members of the public who wish to help the family can contact them at 664-3297, or they can visit the family in the Krooman Lagoon Reserve on Antelope Street Extension.
None of the houses or their contents were insured.