Posted: Monday, December 19, 2022. 6:30 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Two police officers who were the first to arrive on the scene of a Belize City house fire on Sunday have been placed on mandatory leave after an 83-year-old woman died in the fire right before their eyes.
The two officers arrived on Rasta Street at the home of Elita Elswith Coleman, to find it completely on fire with the elderly woman still trapped inside.
Head of Communications for the Office of the Commissioner of Police, ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, said that the officers had tried their best to break into the house, however, it was properly secured and they did not have the necessary equipment at the time to break in.
“Our officers on the scene held a conversation with Ms. Elita…it was very traumatic for them,” Yearwood said. “you can see that they were trying to save Ms. Elita’s life.”
Yearwood said that, following the incident, the officers appeared distraught, and realizing that impact, the department recommended that they be placed on a few days’ leave with immediate effect.
“They will be going through counseling,” Yearwood said. “An experience like that is not something you get over in a few hours.”
Meanwhile, the department has spoken to Coleman’s son who said that he had made checks on his mother earlier in the day and that all was well when he did so. The Belize National Fire Service’s preliminary report has suggested that the fire may have been caused by an electrical fault in a washing machine inside Coleman’s house.
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