Cyprus Mail

Leaked confidential memo on Nicosia court fire says no foul play

Officials at the scene of the destroyed court building in Nicosia

By Elias Hazou

There is no evidence of foul play in the fire that engulfed building 4 of the courts complex on the morning of February 26, according to a report compiled by authorities.

Daily Politis secured a copy of a confidential memo sent to parliament by the police and describing the causes of the blaze.

The memo states that, following investigations by the police, the fire department and the electromechanical services, the fire began in the lavatory area, which is located next to storage space where court evidence is kept.

The flames were burning for some time and spread to nearby boilers, which is believed to have caused the explosion, the report states.

It said that, given the absence of evidence pointing to foul play, and since the fire started in the false ceiling in the lavatory area, “most likely the fire is due to an electrical malfunction in the area above the false ceiling.”

Last week it was confirmed that a number of evidentiary documents pertaining to an ongoing trial were destroyed in the fire.

The court had kept copies, however.

Evidence from the scene was sent to the State Lab. Media reports said that the lab tests found traces of flammable material, but no explosive material.

The flammable material was said to be petrol contained in jerrycans. The question was why the jerrycans were at the site.

The memo with the police findings was sent to parliament as MPs were scheduled to discuss the incident and discuss ways of improving security and fire hazard measures at the courts.

The incident opened up a discussion on the general state of the court buildings.

The memo makes a number of recommendations, such as installing a security arch at the entrance and posting two police officers there at all times.

It also recommends reconfiguring the space on the ground floor so as to isolate the area from where detainees enter and leave the criminal court.



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