Suspect detained over Marmara Island blaze

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suspect was detained by police on Aug. 13 over a forest fire which caused injuries and damage on the Marmara Island off the coast of the northwestern Balıkesir province on Aug. 12.

According to initial assessments, the suspect was accused of burning the haystack in front of a house in the Mestanağa neighborhood.

More than 100 fire fighters with 50 water trucks managed to contain the blaze in 10 hours after the flames, fanned by strong winds, spread to residential areas in the evening on Aug. 12.

Some 60 houses were evacuated as four fire fighters and some 30 residents were hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Three houses burned up, many animals perished. Most of the barns in the area burned up. There is no fatal casualty or injury,” Süleyman Aksoy, the mayor of the island, said in the early hours of Aug. 13.

“An area of 70-80 hectares was damaged. But everything is alright on the island. The fire on the Marmara Island has been brought under control,” he said, adding that quenching works were underway.

Nurgül Erçin, a local resident, told reporters that the blaze was relatively small at the beginning but grew suddenly with the windstorm, damaging their oil grove and killing the poultry animals.

“We had planted the pine trees with students with big dreams. The blaze spread very quickly, the city fell under smoke. People were panicked,” said her husband, Rıfat Erçin.

Eylül İşsever was also very sad about their damaged oil grove.

“Our oil grove, our lungs burned. The fruits of our grandfathers, grandmothers burned up. We are very sorry, our livelihood burned,” she said.

Meanwhile, another blaze which erupted on Aug. 13 in the western Kütahya province damaged a forest land of 80 hectares, authorities said in the early hours of Aug. 13. The fire in the Yaylacık forest was contained after huge efforts, Kütahya Governor Ömer Toraman said.

Hayati Özgür, deputy chair of the General Directorate of Forestry, said that a total of 27 blazes erupted in the forest and agricultural lands across Turkey on Aug. 12.

“Due to high temperatures and strong winds, 15 forest fires and 12 agricultural land fires erupted. Our squads battled all the fires across Turkey,” he said in Kütahya’s Tavşanlı district early in the morning on Aug. 13.

Some 95 percent of the fires on average break out by human-driven causes, he added, calling on citizens for extra caution especially when the weather is hot and the humidity rate is low.

A blaze in the Gebze district of the industrial Kocaeli district on Aug. 12 damaged a land of 30 hectares, a cosmetic factory and equipment of a plastic products plant.

A relatively small forest fire on the Burgazada Island off Istanbul was contained with the help of the fire fighters dispatched from Istanbul’s Maltepe district and local residents.

Hurriyet Daily News

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