Tuesday, October 13, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: An early morning fire totally gutted a two story building and damaged three others on Handyside Street in Belize City yesterday. Members of the public are up in arms because, according to them, the National Fire Service was – for lack of better words- ill equipped to handle the situation.
Businessman Alberto Carpio of Nu Fenders Bar says he was awakened by the flames and spent the rest of the day watching as all he owned went up in smoke and fire.
Orin Smith, Station Officer at the National Fire Service gave us the official report this morning.
Apart from exhausting their water supply, the trucks that were on the scene began experiencing mechanical failure and while it can be said that this may have led to the damage of more structures, Smith says they called for back-up.
And while Orin Smith is adamant that the department did all in its capacity to bring the fire under control, it points to a bigger problem on their behalf- lack of newer, up to date fire trucks. From what we were told, some fire trucks are over 15 years old, the oldest being well over 40 years at a station in the south.
Acting Fire Chief, Ted Smith says the department has plans over the next few years to get the trucks replaced and they are investigating internally concerning the problems experienced at the scene.
And while that may be no conciliation for those affected by the fire, Smith says that five adjacent structures were saved regardless of the shortfalls that day.
As to the department’s morale following yesterday’s blunders and shortfalls, Smith says it constantly reviews its performance and will never be truly satisfied.
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