Tragic Stupidity

SPN La Palma Fire 02Now into the second 24 hours, the La Palma fire burns on, having claimed the life of 54-year-old Francisco José Santana; a fire that came about for the most ridiculous of reasons.

The suspect, whom the police found next to where the fire had begun as they were setting up a roadblock, explained that he had decided to burn the toilet paper that he had used after defecating in the middle of a pinewood.

SPN Fire VictimThe victim, a well liked member of the community with over 20 years’ experience, found himself trapped on steep, rocky ground when the wind changed. Companions had managed to flee and take refuge on a burnt out area but Francisco didn’t make it. His body was found later.

Two-hundred people are working to control the fire but even so over 2,000 hectares of land have already been turned to ash.

Editorial comment: I’m sorry, but it’s always a foreigner that causes a fire for the most brainless of reasons: you’re in a Mediterranean pine forest in August after one of the driest winters and springs on record, and you decide to burn toilet paper on top of pine-needle-covered ground…

It’s only rivalled by the actions of a Belgian couple about eight years back who burnt down a whole hillside of the Sierra Nevada after they became lost and decided to light a beacon fire so that people would know where they were… in the middle of summer.

Obviously, most fires in Spain are caused by Spaniards, but more often than not through stubbornness; “nobody is going to tell me that I can’t light my BBQ!”

(News: La Palma, Canary Island)

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