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Pyromaniac policeman caught by colleagues

A Spanish Civil Guard policeman has been arrested by his colleagues for allegedly starting 19 forest fires in Madrid in July.

Pyromaniac policeman caught by colleagues
Police investigations pointed towards the suspect on the basis of witness descriptions and the odd behaviour his colleagues picked up on. Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP

Police investigations pointed towards the suspect on the basis of witness descriptions and the odd behaviour his colleagues picked up on during the forest fires period.

It remains unclear why the 30-year-old officer decided to cause 19 forest fires in the Madrid municipalities of Navas del Rey, Chapinería and Cadalso de los Vidrios.

According to a police statement, the suspect would light the blazes at times when the flames would spread faster through the woodlands.

Witnesses told Spain’s Civil Guard they spotted a man on a bike on Juy 17th riding through forest paths and starting up to four fires.

If found guilty, the officer faces a maximum five-year jail sentence and a fine of up to €216,000.

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FIRE

Barcelona fire kills four, including two children

A fire ripped through an abandoned bank occupied by squatters in central Barcelona on Tuesday, killing four people, including a baby and a three year-old boy, Spanish firefighters said.

Police and firefighters gather outside an abandoned building where a blaze broke out early on November 30, 2021 in Barcelona, killing four people.
Police and firefighters gather outside an abandoned building where a blaze broke out early on November 30, 2021 in Barcelona, killing four people. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

“While we were battling the fire, we found four people. Emergency services tried to revive them but unfortunately they failed, they could not do anything to save them,” the head of the firefighting operation, Ángel López, told reporters.

Firefighters rescued four other people who were inside the building while putting out the blaze, he added.

Those four were treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters rushed to the scene at around 6 am after being warned that a blaze had broken out in the building, Mr Lopez said.

While Mr López said it was not clear how the four dead people were related, Barcelona-based daily newspaper La Vanguardia said they were all members of a Romanian family.

A spokesman for Catalonia’s regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, said an investigation had been opened into the causes of the fire.

In December 2020, four people were killed after a blaze ripped through an industrial complex occupied by squatters, many of them African migrants, near Barcelona.

Over 100 squatters were believed to be living in precarious conditions at the abandoned complex in Badalona, a suburban town north of the city.

In addition to the four deaths, more than 20 people were injured in the blaze.

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