Chile Arrests Firefighter, Official Accused In Blaze That Killed 137


Chile arrests firefighter, official accused in blaze that killed 137

Santiago, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th May, 2024) A firefighter and a forestry official were arrested in Chile Friday on suspicion of starting a blaze that killed 137 people in the resort city of Vina del Mar in February, authorities said.

"An arrest warrant was issued today against the person who started the fires in February in the Valparaiso region," where Vina del Mar is located, police director Eduardo Cerna told a news conference.

A little later, the Valparaiso regional prosecutor's office confirmed the arrest of a second suspect, an official of the National Forestry Corporation (Conaf), the body responsible for fighting forest fires and managing national parks.

Both men will be remanded in custody on Saturday on charges of arson resulting in deaths.

Several fires broke out simultaneously on February 2 around the coastal city of Vina del Mar, 70 miles (110 kilometers) northwest of Chile's capital Santiago.

The inferno, the second deadliest in the world this century, was fueled by winds and a heatwave that saw temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Local media reported the firefighter is a 22-year-old man who joined the volunteer force a year and a half ago.

"We are completely devastated by what happened, it is a totally isolated incident... we have served Valparaiso for more than 170 years and cannot allow such things," Vicente Maggiolo, commander of the 13th Fire Company of the city of Valparaiso, told reporters.