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“I saw a guy crouching in front of the flames, testify to our colleagues of TF1 Frédéric, one of the seven holidaymakers who stopped along the departmental 559.
The man says he, along with his friends Charles and Elodie, used “car mats” and “water bottles” to stop the fire from spreading. “I put two bottles of water in the fire, it stopped very quickly,” he says. As for the arsonist, “we saw him leave with his bags, and there I heard someone say ‘you stay there, you don’t move’”.
They will receive the medal of the City
The suspect, a 56-year-old man, was arrested and taken into custody on Saturday. It was initially to be presented this Monday, August 23 for immediate appearance, “but due to the complexity of the file, it was finally chosen to open a judicial investigation”.
The suspected arsonist was presented to an examining magistrate and charged with “attempted forest destruction” in the evening before being imprisoned, announced to HuffPost the Deputy Public Prosecutor of Draguignan Laurence Barriquand, confirming information from Parisian.
According to the same source, the suspect faces a 15-year prison sentence.
The seven people who intervened to stop the fire were invited to the town hall of Cavalaire-sur-Mer on Wednesday, August 25, in the afternoon. “The first thing I did was to invite them to a small meeting to be able to thank them, have a drink, and above all give them my feeling,” the mayor of the city, Philippe Leonellili, told TF1.
According to our colleagues, they should, on this occasion, be awarded the City’s medal for this act of bravery.
A violent fire already in progress in the Var
The Var department faces a violent fire – now mastered, even if not yet extinguished – left a motorway rest area a week ago in still undetermined circumstances. In the Massif des Maures, the fire is now fixed, but not considered extinguished, according to firefighters.
The fire killed two people and burned more than 7,000 hectares of forest, vineyards and scrubland, devastating in particular nearly half of the Plaine des Maures National Nature Reserve, a haven of biodiversity.
Several Mediterranean countries, from Israel to Spain, via Turkey, Greece or Morocco, were affected by serious forest fires this summer, sometimes very deadly as in Algeria.
See also on Le HuffPost: Fire in the Var: turtle rescue operation in a nature reserve