Behind the scenes at Gata fire – what you may not know.

After a fourth fire broke out in the Gata area recently, I think this is leaving little doubt that there is some foul play at work in the area right now.

Whether these are deliberate wicked arson attacks or whether they can be blamed on extremely careless and thoughtless smokers, we do not yet know but with 12 fires having to be attended in the last couple of weeks, it makes you wonder.

I used to live in Balcon-al-Mar, which is the base of the Balcón al Mar Voluntarios, that, for those that do not know, is  a group of brave, dedicated and properly trained  fire-fighting volunteers of different nationalities They were formed way back in 1981 and are due to celebrate their 40th anniversary next year. I was fortunate to get to know a few of them over the years and cannot speak highly enough of this team, who risk their lives time after time, normally during the added peril of scorching summer weather.

What follows is an account written by one of their volunteers , who, although not called out to the fire which started near Gata on August 18th, he happens to live nearby …. luckily! His wife posted this account on the group a while after but removed it as the discussion was, let’s say…”heading south”! But I think it is worthy of circulation, as, without this particular firefighter being nearby, the result could have been so much worse and possibly even fatal.

The story

 “Whether this fire was started withdeliberate intent to start a fire or not, two people nearly lost their lives because of it.”

Seeing the smoke coming from the area, my husband went immediately to the scene, where he discovered  an elderly lady, ( who had a heart condition and was hypoglycaemic)  and her young nephew who was barely school age, who  were caught up in the smoke and couldn’t find their way out. Another few minutes and she would have collapsed and then probably the child would have gone down with her too. The smoke was that thick he couldn’t see them –  he just heard her coughing and gasping for breath. She was going into hypoventilation, so, as we live we nearby, my husband  brought her to our house so that we could give her some sugar water and calm her down.

The little boy was in a state of shock, so he just sat there staring into space and couldn’t talk. Luckily we managed to locate her husband and the little boy’s brother who had managed to get out of the casita and run for it.

She had been out for a walk with her nephew and was on her way back to her house which backed on to the big 300 year old tree that burnt down during this incident.

That particular area is a prime target in the campo because everything is so dry and there are not many people about generally. The bull-rushes go up a treat so an arsonist can have a field day and go pretty much unnoticed.”

It was relayed that police and Guardia Civil had concluded it was started with a cigarette thrown from a car and perhaps it was but was it with intent, or was this and the all the others lately just a steam of  irresponsible thoughtless acts? With at total of 4 fires in that same small area within a very short time, plus 8 more fires in a very short time, I know what my conclusion would be!

With thanks, one again, to all those that continually work to keep local people safe, both voluntarily and officially,  namely:-

  • Alicante Bombero Air and Ground Teams
  • Balon-al-Mar Voluntarios
  • Civil Protection
  • Police and Guardia Civil
  • The Red Cross. 

We finish with a video made by the wife of another of the volunteer bomberos, made during one day of the most memorable and catastrophic fires of September 2016.