Tuesday, 25 April 2023, 11:11
The person accused of starting a fire that ravaged 9,000 hectares of land across the Costa del Sol and killed two people could face four years in prison if found guilty. The Public Prosecutor's Office has modified the requested sentence for the only person accused, which was initially seven and a half years, because of the delay that the case has taken to reach trial.
The fire started on 30 August in 2012 in the Barranco Blanco area and spread through the municipalities of Mijas, Marbella, Alhaurín el Grande, Ojén and Monda.
According to the Public Prosecutor's Office, the gardener, "in an absolutely irresponsible manner", lit a bonfire before 6.50pm to eliminate the remains of pruning without taking precautions and abandoned the fire before it was properly extinguished.
The temperature on the day was 37.6 degrees, with wind speeds up to nine kilometres per hour - there were maximum gusts in the following hours of up to 34 kilometres per hour and with changing directions.
The burning debris allegedly blew onto some dry grass, where the fire then took off and spread to neighbouring areas.
Two people, both German nationals, died. The fire also caused damage to 347 houses and facilities. Two areas of Mijas, four in Marbella and the entire town of Ojén were forced to evacuate.
Infoca firefighters brought the fire under control two days later, on 2 September, and it was extinguished on 4 September. A total of 8,582 hectares was burnt, mostly forest land. In addition to the two fatalities, four others were injured.
The prosecutor called for the defendant, if convicted, to compensate the families of the deceased with 90,000 euros each and 2,500 euros for three of the injured. For the fourth, who spent three months in an intensive care unit and is physically disabled, the amount would be determined in the sentence.
The trial started on 30 January and the accused denied that he had carried out any burning on the estate where the fire allegedly originated.
The accused was initially facing seven and a half years in prison if found guilty, but the Public Prosecutor's Office changed it to four years, taking into consideration the case had taken ten years to come to trial.
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