Cyprus Mail

New firefighters visit explosion site

Forty new firefighters on Tuesday underwent their first lesson at the site where six members of the force were killed in the line of duty in July 2011.

On the instruction of fire service chief Marcos Trangolas the recruits attended their first lesson at the Evangelos Florakis naval base where a munitions explosion killed six firemen and seven sailors on July 11, 2011.

“After you bowed and laid a flower of love, honour, and respect to the place of your colleagues’ sacrifice, and after you were taught dedication to the duty and self-denial, love for humans and country, self-sacrifice and heroism, I wish you a good and safe career,” the chief said in a message.

“Now you are ready to start classes at the firefighting school.”

The blast was caused by munitions haphazardly stored at the base for more than two years.

The munitions, stored in 98 containers, had been confiscated in 2009 from a Cyprus-flagged ship en route to Syria, and were then stacked in an open space at the base and left exposed to the elements until the day of the explosion, despite repeated warnings about the risks.

Beyond the loss of life, the blast incapacitated the island’s biggest power station, located next door, which had a crippling effect on the already ailing economy.

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