Walker who admits causing fire tragedy in court
20 July 2005, GUADALAJARA — A walker who allegedly admits he started the barbeque which lead to the death of 11 volunteer firefighters was expected to appear in court.
20 July 2005
GUADALAJARA — A walker who allegedly admits he started the barbeque which lead to the death of 11 volunteer firefighters was expected to appear in court.
Mercelino Herche, from Madrid, was said to have told police four other walkers who were with him should not be blamed.
He was due to appear in court in Guadalajara on Wednesday.
Herche could face up to 20 years in jail, though any possible sentence is likely to be between one and five years.
Earlier, all five had admitted to police they were responsible for a deadly forest fire in Spain's Guadalajara province.
They dismissed the advice of a guide who said it could be dangerous to start a blaze.
The fire, which began in pine woodland at Cueva de los Casares on Saturday, has destroyed up to 12,000 hectares.
Members of the public have criticised the authorities' handling of the fire.
One woman told Spanish radio by phone that the emergency services had been slow to react.
"It could have been stopped yesterday, and today it's too late."
Police say the forest fire was started by a barbecue and fanned by blustery winds in very dry conditions.
Eleven people died after becoming encircled following a sudden change in wind direction, officials said.
Meanwhile, relatives were mourning the dead, though some could not be sure which bodies belonged to which person, such were the extent of their burns.
Forensic experts are trying to identify the bodies of the volunteers, said to be aged between 24 and 52.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news