By Marion Ali
P & P Home Depot, a three-story warehouse which stored children’s bicycles, clothing and toys at the Corozal Free Zone, made news this week for catching fire, twice!
The original blaze started at around 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Three fire trucks responded, according to Benesford Matura, operations officer with the National Fire Service: the one stationed at the Free Zone, one from the Corozal Fire Station and one from Quintana Roo, Mexico. Fire fighters encountered problems, Matura told the Reporter, because they could not enter the burning building through any of the doors and had to break an entry through the concrete wall to fight the flames, which started on the second floor of the building.
According to Matura, the entire flooring on the second flat of the 60-by-70-foot building collapsed onto the ground floor, setting more items ablaze. It took four hours for the joint Belize-Mexican fire fighting efforts to pay off and contain the blaze. The fire official said the fire crew remained on the scene for hours after, to douse the smoldering debris, but during that time, a portion at the back of the building, which was not easily accessible, ignited and spread to the third floor by Wednesday, resulting in another huge blaze, which destroyed everything on that floor. That second blaze was finally put out by 2:00 Thursday morning.
Matura explained that investigations are just now beginning to determine the cause of the initial fire. The building, he said, belonged to Amit Moryani, 34, of Cemetery Street, Orange Walk town. It is insured for $1 million, but its contents were not. The warehouse was closed at the time the fire started, Matura said.
Meanwhile, another fire at 3722 corner Louise Bevans and Freedom Streets in the Port Loyola area of Belize City on Wednesday night destroyed the upper flat of a house.
Allan Locario, 61, who occupied the upper flat, told fire officials that he was reading a book by candlelight and fell asleep. He said he woke up realizing the candle had tipped over and set the chair on fire.
Locario lost everything, while the lower flat, which once housed a meat shop, was not damaged. The owner of the house, up to press time, was not yet identified.