By Chris King • 16 August 2023 • 1:17
Image of firefighters tackling a fire in Caimari, Mallorca.
THE Guardia Civil arrested a former firefighter from the Balearic Institute of Nature (Ibanat), on suspicion of causing five or six fires on the island of Mallorca.
At the time of his arrest on Monday, August 14, the man was on sick leave, according to sources of Ultima Hora. He was detained after a surveillance operation had been set up to try and catch a suspected arsonist who had started five or six small fires on the island recently.
On Monday afternoon, 112 received an alert about a new fire that had broken out in the municipality of Caimari. They immediately dispatched the relevant emergency teams to the location.
Due to the close proximity of the flames to some houses, the Local Police of Selva and the Guardia Civil were forced to evict the occupants of several houses.
Quickly, a large police force took up positions and proceeded to arrest the arsonist. The arrested fireman was unaware that the Ibanat and Guardia Civil officers had been watching him from above thanks to the deployment of an unmanned drone.
He was caught red-handed and drunk and said to have been in possession of several lighters, fire starters, papers, and accelerants.
In the last month, Selva and Caimari had registered seven agricultural and forest fires in their demarcation. The residents had been living in fear as they knew from the beginning that the fires had been set intentionally.
An operation to snare 61-year-old Francisco B had been ongoing for 15 days. The force already had him marked as their culprit after taking statements from him after he reported each incident.
They realised that something simply did not add up as he was always the one who alerted the security services to the presence of another fire.
Finally, yesterday afternoon, the drone managed to record the exact moment when the arsonist set fire to a farm and tried to flee on a motorcycle.
The defendant had worked for a long time as a member of an Ibanat brigade as a firefighter, but he was removed and currently did odd building jobs and even collaborated with the Council, helping in town races.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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