Arsonist in court

BBQ FIRELIGHTERS: A small piece was found in the suspect’s vehicle.

Prosecutors have charged a man with starting a fire that led to the evacuation of 26 homes on the outskirts of the town of Albaida.

The remnants of firelighters were allegedly found in a vehicle which belonged to the suspect, a 45-year-old man who is Spanish, according to information supplied by the Guardia Civil.

Four fires ripped through the outskirts of the municipality on July 31. They were halted a day later thanks to the determined actions of firefighters, police and volunteers.

Among an area of scrubland, sugar cane and crops, investigators found a number of foil packages containing what was described as “combustible material,” which turned out to be barbecue firelighters.

A specialist in wildfires was later brought in by the Generalitat Valenciana to work alongside police. Albaida mayor, Josep Albert, issued a statement calling on residents living in the area to come forward with any information that could lead to the arrest of the fire-raiser.

The subsequent investigation revealed the individual responsible had been driving around probably lighting the incendiary packages at five different areas.

A small chunk of one of the white firelighters was later found during a search of the suspect’s vehicle. It is thought he simply threw them out through the window having already set them alight.

The man due in court is also accused of starting three additional fires in the weeks leading up to August 17. No motive for his actions has yet been revealed by prosecutors. The suspect was due to appear before Instructional Court Number 3 in Ontinyent.

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