Fire chief tells inquiry: We could not do more

17th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 August 2005, GUADALAJARA — A fire chief who led efforts to fight a forest blaze which claimed the lives of 11 firefighters told an inquiry they were powerless to do more.

18 August 2005

GUADALAJARA — A fire chief who led efforts to fight a forest blaze which claimed the lives of 11 firefighters told an inquiry they were powerless to do more.

Antonio Pallarés told an inquiry into the tragedy: "We could not have done much more than we did."

He recalled the "horrifying" power of the fire and thought "it was only possible to save what we did".

Last month, the 11 volunteer firefighters were killed in a wildfire in Castilla-La Mancha, central Spain.

The experienced firefighters were apparently caught by surprise by flames that shot up from a ravine.

Isaac Viñas, an official with natural-resources company Tragsa, told EFE that two of the dead were forest rangers and the others were contract firefighters hired to help put out the blazes in Guadalajara province.

The fire scorched some 8,000 hectares (19,753 acres) of pine forests in the north-western part of Guadalajara province.

The blaze, which threatened the environmentally rich Alto Tajo Natural Park, was started by a barbeque fire that was not fully extinguished. One man has been arrested.

It was first thought the number of dead was 14 though this was later reduced.

It is the highest death toll from a forest fire in Spain for 15 years.

It is the latest in a series of major blazes partly caused by the worst drought in Spain for 60 years.

But a number of fires have also been started deliberately, fire investigators believe.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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