Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Four arrested after Rock fire

Four people were arrested on suspicion of arson following a major fire in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve on Saturday.

The four, two men and two women, are all non-residents, were camping in the area at the time the blaze started. All have been released on police bail while the City Fire Brigade and the Royal Gibraltar Police carry out their investigations.

Yesterday, the City Fire Brigade said it had so far been unable to establish what started the fire, while the police confirmed that there was as yet no evidence to connect the four campers to the incident other than their presence in the area at the time.

The fire covered a large swathe of the lower slopes of the Upper Rock and it took a major deployment of fire fighters to bring it under control.

At the height of the incident during the early evening on Saturday, 26 men from the City Fire Brigade and a further eight from the Defence Fire Service were on site tackling the flames.

“We hit it with near enough everything we had,” said Guillermo Mauro, deputy chief fire officer at the City Fire Brigade.

The operation was scaled down after about 9pm on Saturday but men from the City Fire Brigade were on site through the night and were still putting out “hot spots” on Sunday morning. It took until yesterday morning before the fire was officially “closed”.

This was the second incident in as many weeks in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, where lack of rain has led to bone-dry vegetation that can easily catch alight.

The City Fire Brigade has urged the public to be careful when disposing of cigarettes or glass bottles because both, in the right conditions, could easily start a fire.

As if to ram the message home, on Sunday firemen had to respond to a second incident up the Rock, though this fire, in the area of St Michael’s Cave, was far smaller than Saturday’s blaze.

Related Article:

11 July 2005 - Firemen in hazardous battle against Rock blaze

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