ENVIRONMENT

Hammer falls for arson by negligence

Hammer falls for arson by negligence

In one of the first court decisions based on the new legal framework regarding arson, a 63-year-old pensioner who was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 10,000 euros for the fire he caused by negligence in Sidirounta on the island of Chios will remain in custody until the appeal is heard.

The fire in Sidirounta on July 1 that burned some 1,500 hectares over two days was caused by a spark from the pensioner’s hoe while he was carrying out work in his field.

He told the court he was hoeing around his olive trees in his field order to water them, but claims that the fire did not start through his own fault. His field, as his lawyer, Dimitris Kardasilaris, points out, was cleared of flammable material.

Speaking to Kathimerini, the 63-year-old’s lawyer argued that the evidence in the case file was not sufficient to lead to the conviction and estimated that the decision will be overturned in the second instance. 

In the last two months, the Fire Service has been making arrests around the county and imposing hefty fines on people carrying out work that is conducive to fires on high-risk days, or for arson by negligence. 

Indicatively, on June 25, a fine of 1,500 euros was imposed on a beekeeper for depositing residues from a bee smoker near a forest area in Markopoulo, Attica.

On the same day, a farmer in Viotia in Central Greece was arrested and fined 2,707 euros for a fire that started during agricultural work.

While this year’s fire season saw the Civil Protection and Fire Service make substantial use of drones to pinpoint the first source of a fire as swiftly as possible, the recent blaze in Glyka Nera in Attica was due to the fall of a drone, which caused a spark in a field. 

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