It was not only a three story building that burnt down on Sunday morning, November 27, in Belize City, the destruction of the Chateau Caribbean Hotel meant the loss of livelihood of its workers and a piece of history for Belize.
The historic Chateau Caribbean hotel burnt for most of the daylight hours; it took firefighters 15 hours to extinguish the blaze. No casualties were reported as the few guests and staff on location managed to escape the blaze. Only one fire fighter was reported receiving injuries to his arm while trying to smash a glass window to gain entry into the burning building.
The fire began sometime after 7a.m. on Sunday morning and was brought under control at around 9p.m. but was not completely out until shortly before midnight.
According to reports, the fire began in the kitchen and quickly spread throughout the entire structure. Belizeans and viewers from abroad watched in awe and disbelief as local residents streamed live on Facebook while the fire department did its best to out the huge blaze. Their efforts were not enough against the powerful flames which burst out of windows on all sides of the massive building.
According to Fire Chief, Ted Smith, his firefighters were challenged with exhaustion as they had been up until around midnight the night before battling another fire on East Canal in Belize City.
The Chateau Caribbean Hotel was Belizean landmark from the colonial era. Before it became a hotel it was a home to the Biddle family which then was transformed into the Holden Memorial Hospital. The building became the Chateau Caribbean Hotel and Restaurant in the early 1980's, well known for their steaks.
The building was centrally featured in the first movie made in Belize, "Dogs of War" - which was shot in 1980. It used the quaint colonial styling of the Chateau as the hotel of choice for the film's lead character, played by Christopher Walken.
-Photo by Holly Edgell
A glimps of the historic Chateau Caribbean Hotel before the fire