Chile arrests firefighters for fire that killed 137 people

Chilean authorities have arrested a firefighter and a forestry worker on suspicion of causing a fire that killed at least 137 people in February.

Police chief Eduardo Cerna said one of the men worked for the National Forestry Corporation, which is responsible for fighting forest fires.

The suspects were detained and charged with arson leading to death.

The fire – the country’s deadliest – devastated the Valparaíso region, more than 122km (75 miles) from the Chilean capital Santiago.

Officials allege that several fires broke out simultaneously, then high temperatures and winds caused the blaze to spread.

More than 16,000 people were affected by the fire that destroyed homes and devastated the area, home to Vina del Mar, a popular vacation destination.

Commenting on the arrest of the firefighter, Vicente Maggiolo, commander of Fire Company No. 13 in Valparaiso, told local media: “We are completely devastated by what happened, it was an incident. completely isolated.

“We have served Valparaiso for more than 170 years and cannot allow such things to happen.”

“There were about four outbreaks, evenly spaced,” said prosecutor Osvaldo Ossandón.

Materials used to start the fire were found at the home of one of the suspects, he said, adding that investigators were looking into possible links to other arson attacks .


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