Cyprus Mail

Concerns over homeless living in abandoned buildings run high in Limassol

Λεμεσός – Φωτιά σε εγκαταλελειμμένη οικία
Fire at the Pavlidis Mansion

Concerns have been raised over abandoned buildings in Limassol following suspicions of human involvement in the fire that destroyed the historic Pavlidis mansion.

The listed mansion, located on Iphigenias Street in the heart of Limassol, has been reduced to ruins due to a fire that erupted on Wednesday afternoon.

The incident has reignited concerns over the dozens of abandoned structures scattered across Limassol’s urban landscape as witnesses reported seeing people entering and exiting the building in the days preceding the blaze. This has been a major issue that troubles the municipality as dead homeless people have been found in abandoned properties in the past.

Pavlidis mansion had been abandoned for a decade. Previously, it housed the Limassol Municipality’s Traffic Department offices. Once, its courtyard served as a bar.

The fire that broke on Wednesday severely damaged the building, with the wooden roof collapsing, while the first floor and the internal staircase collapsed. The only thing left standing is its brick walls.

It all caused panic among students of the nearby university of technology (Tepak).

For the fire extinguishing, three firefighting trucks and an aerial ladder platform were deployed, while it took hours for the final extinguishing. Due to its location, there were difficulties in approaching the firefighting vehicles. At the same time, a great effort was made to protect nearby preserved homes and properties.

After the extinguishing of the fire, engineers and technicians from the Public Works inspected the building, not allowing the Fire Service to enter for investigations, as they deemed it at risk of collapse.

Authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire, amid reports of suspicious activity in the vicinity leading up to the incident.

Witnesses observed four individuals entering and exiting the abandoned mansion in the days preceding the blaze, raising suspicions of foul play.

The Limassol Municipality has expressed its regret over the destruction of the Pavlidis Mansion, pledging to assist in the restoration efforts. However, the incident has reignited calls for proactive measures to address the broader issue of abandoned buildings and urban blight in the city.

The issue of abandoned buildings occupied by squatters and the homeless extends beyond Limassol. Instances of abandoned refugee houses in Lakatamia being occupied by squatters were also reported in 2022.

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