Fire guts room, but “Mr Program” saves child’s life and rest of house

By Marion V. Ali
Staff Reporter

He is known for his hit single, “Fall and Die”, but Mr Program was everything but falling on Tuesday morning, when he helped saved a child’s life and a house from burning down in his neighbourhood.

A child saw the fire sometime before 11:00 a.m. and told the artist, whose birth name is Gilbert Alamilla.
Gilbert did not hesitate to spring into action, running from his house on Kelly Street through a narrow alley to the structure which was on fire.

There, Alamilla pulled out a child who was inside the building, broke a pipe in the yard and started to fill buckets of water to douse the burning building. He was able to contain the blaze before it spread throughout the structure, and before fire officials got to the scene.

While the occupant of the room, Steven Lemoine, his common-law wife, Shakira Grant and their three children, aged 8,7 and 5, lost their possessions, Alamilla’s efforts saved other belongings and the rest of the house, occupied by another family.

Acting Operations Officer for the National Fire Service in Belize City, Orin Smith, told The Reporter on Wednesday that Shakira Grant told them she left their quarters earlier that morning with the door closed but not locked because she had left her three children with a neighbour. It appears, based on the investigations, said Smith, that one of the children went home and began playing with matches. The fire, he said, started from a padded chair,which had a mattress leaned against it. The Fire Department has ruled the blaze as an accident.

Alamilla, meanwhile, who is also a tour guide, was not at home when we went by for a first-hand account of his heroic deed.

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