Sunrise brought to light the vast destruction that an early morning fire caused in the heart of downtown San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, on Monday, June 27, 2016. The fire started shortly after midnight and spread though homes, businesses, storage rooms and apartment complexes, almost wiping out an entire block.
The fire is said to have started in a small structure in the center of the town block and quickly spread to buildings on the left side of Pescador Drive (Middle Street). The destruction starts from Lino’s Meat Shop and upstairs residence on the corner of Buccaneer St. and extends down the street all the way to Graniel’s Dreamland display room and upstairs residence.
Tally of Destruction by Downtown San Pedro Fire:
Total # of Buildings Completely Destroyed - 11
Total # of Buildings Partially Destroyed - 6
Total # of Business Places Completely Destroyed - 8
Total # of Business Places Partially Destroyed - 6
Total # of Families Affected - 27
Total # of People Affected - 88
Total # of Families with Complete Loss - 21
Total # of People with Complete Loss - 68
Total # of Families with Partial Loss - 6
Total # of People with Partial Loss - 20
The fire department was reported to have arrived early at the scene, but that it took the firemen some time to set up their equipment and start battling the fire. It was with the assistance of a bucket brigade of over 1,000 volunteers that the fire department was able to control the fire. A line of volunteers stretched from the seafront at Estel’s diner all the way to the lagoon side of the Sunset Boardwalk in a well-organized bucket brigade that managed to salvage Lino’s Meat Shop and upstairs residence.
The fire consumed homes and damaged surrounding buildings to the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars and has displaced 88 people from their homes and businesses. No casualties have been reported but there were injured people admitted to the Poly Clinic suffering from wounds, cuts, bruises and smoke inhalation who were assisting in the fire-fighting.
The San Pedro Roman Catholic School was opened as an immediate shelter for the fire victims and local groups have already started mobilizing in collecting and providing clothing, food and basic commodities to those who have lost everything. The San Pedro Food Bank has opened collection of non-perishable goods, clothes, personal items and basic necessities at the San Pedro Lions Club. The San Pedro Town Council is planning a total cleanup of the middle street area within the next three days and invites any volunteers to assists in the community cleanup and assist the families affected.
The Town Council is inviting all NGOs and volunteers to a meeting at the Town Hall to be held at 2p.m. to discuss and organize relief efforts for the fire victims.