The tranquil scenery of the historic New Town Barracks in Belize City was quickly disrupted by crackling noises emanating from a massive fire that gutted the establishment known to many as Timmys Bar and Business Computer Systems around 4:00 this morning. In its wake, one female person later identified as 24 year old Jacqueline Arteaga perished in the fire. Arteaga was one of four persons who were in the building when the fire started. The other three persons managed to escape unhurt through their room windows.
The fire, which raged for hours, was fuelled by winds from the Caribbean Sea right across from the establishment which presented a challenge for fire fighters and other responders. Timmy’s Bar was on the ground floor and upstairs were dwelling apartments. Artega was in one of them when the blaze erupted. Fire Fighters had no idea she was inside the building.
Benisford Matura, Operations Officer, Belize Fire Department
“Upon arrival the ground floor and a portion at the front of the upper floor for Kimmie’s Nightclub was totally engulfed along with the south-western section of Business Computer systems the building adjacent to it. Like I said it was totally engulfed. We got into operations to try and contain and control this fire. We all know that the structure for Kimmie’s is an old wooden structure, both of them, so the heat was very intense. It was early morning. The wind was blowing from the east going to the west at a heavy rate so the wind was not on our side this morning. When we reached at the scene no one informed us that someone was in there. About midway during fire-fighting I guess the proprietor for Kimmie’s Bar informed the Police, and that’s how we were told that somebody was in there. But upon arrival our fire-fighters did not hear and nobody informed them that somebody was trapped in Kimmie’s Nightclub, the upper floor. After being informed that there was somebody in there we started a search in the lower flat of Kimmie’s and I would say that half an hour into our search we found the remains. Presently we still have a team of investigators as we speak trying to find the cause of the fire. We can pinpoint the origin as it was in the front of Kimmie’s Nightclub on the lower flat. The front would be the south-eastern corner of the nightclub on the lower flat.”
This footage taken by a witness shows that a man from the area was restrained by police as he attempted to help victims escape the inferno. We understand that while the other persons jumped from the window to escape death, Arteaga panicked and was trapped inside thus meeting her death. She was pregnant at the time with her third child and while she rented an apartment at the building, she stopped working at the bar three months ago. While the cause of the fire is still not known, speculations are that the building was deliberately set on fire.
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