Cyprus Mail

Arakapas fire suspect remanded for further eight days

πληγείσες περιοχές από την πυρκαγ
The destruction caused by the fires last July

The 67-year-old man suspected of starting the fire in Arakapas ten days ago which destroyed over 55 square kilometres and killed four was remanded for a further eight days on Monday by Limassol district court.

Police arrested the man on July 3, when the incident took place, over reports that he had been seen burning stubble at the time when the fire started.

An investigative team has been set up to tackle the case which is being viewed as arson. It appears that the man’s statements clash with those made by eye-witnesses. The suspect denies all charges.

He claimed that he went to water citrus and fruit trees in his field at 10am on July 3.

At 1pm, he went to the Arakapas coffeeshop where he claims that he told a witness he could smell smoke and called 112 from his phone, seeing the flames at 1.53pm.

Police investigators however said this version of events clashed with a witness statement who said they told the suspect that there was a smell of smoke and therefore there must be a fire.

As police investigations are still ongoing, the 67-year-old remains in custody while the case is still being analysed.

The fire was the most devastating ever in the history of the Republic. Homes, other properties and large areas of pine forest and other vegetation were destroyed in just a few hours, as authorities raced to save lives in communities in the path of the fire.

Authorities evacuated several villages in the area, with the flames affecting some 10 communities including Melini, Ora, Odou, Sykopetra, and Eptagonia, Ayioi Vavatsinias, Vavatsinia and Arakapas. The smoke could be seen as far as Ayia Napa.

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