Fires in Gironde: the suspect had already been heard for similar facts in 2012

The man placed in police custody Monday afternoon as part of the investigation into the fire in Landiras (Gironde), which burned nearly 13,000 ha of forest for a week, had already been heard in 2012 for similar facts, we learned from the Bordeaux prosecutor’s office.

He had been suspected ofdestruction of forest by incendiary substance“in a case finally dismissed in 2014, “in the absence of convincing evidence”, indicated the prosecution, specifying that the defendant was a 39-year-old Girondin, living near Landiras. “He cannot be explained on the facts for the moment and has not made a spontaneous confession”, further indicated the prosecution. His police custody will be extended on Tuesday. According to a press release from the prosecutor of the Republic of Bordeaux, Frédérique Porterie, published Monday evening, investigation findings “accredit a deliberately malicious act” at the origin of the fire in Landiras, one of the two forest fires, with that of La Teste-de-Buch, which ravaged more than 19,000 ha and forced more than 34,000 people, residents and vacationers, to evacuate their homes since July 12 in Gironde.

A suspicious departure

According to the prosecutor, “then July 12, at 4.25 p.m., a mechanic who was traveling with his daughter (…) observed (…) a vehicle parked on the roadside which quickly drove off in his sight. When he arrived at the parking lot, the witness noticed that the fire was spreading. He stopped and tried in vain to turn it off“, details the prosecutor.

Investigators have made a connection between this incident and “other outbreaks of fires observed in the same area on the same day but at different times“, as well as for “three other fire starts observed between July 13 and 15”, “quickly circumscribed”. However, “clues remain to be exploited in order to eliminate or retain the thesis of the same author“, says Mrs. Porterie again.

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In the investigation into the other fire, in La Teste-de-Buch near Arcachon, the facts “do not present a criminal nature and are part of a context of involuntary crime”, with a van equipped with a tipper that broke down and caught fire. An expertise will be carried out to know “the mechanical condition of the vehicle and its state of maintenance before the start of the disaster”, as soon as it is accessible.



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