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French firefighters cause a series of forest fires

A firefighter in the south of France set off a series of wildfires in the region in search of excitement and “social recognition”.

The man in his 30s, who has not been identified and is a volunteer firefighter in the Herault region, was arrested on July 27 and is awaiting trial. Montpellier prosecutor Fabrice Belargent said the person admitted to setting fires with lighters on May 26, July 21 and most recently the night of July 26-27.

“When asked about his motives, he said he did this to provoke the intervention of the fire brigade to save him from his suffocating home environment and because of the excitement these interventions brought him. “, Belargent said. “He calls it Adrenaline and says he needs social recognition.”

This man works full-time as a ranger, with primary responsibility for fire prevention.

Firefighters respond to a forest fire in the gironde region, southwestern france on july 16. Photo: ap.

Firefighters respond to a forest fire in the Gironde region, southwestern France on July 16. Image: AP.

His lawyer, Marie Bar, said that when questioned, the man “showed great remorse and shame”.

“He apologized to the firefighters he worked with, calling them his extended family. This is someone who is very passionate about his job,” Bar said. “He found it difficult to explain. In a way, he was relieved that he was caught and said it was an addiction.”

French media called the case a “fire-crazed firefighter”, sparking deep concern in the country, which was shocked by wildfires during last week’s heatwave that forced thousands of people to evacuate. canopy.

If convicted, the man faces 15 years in prison and a fine of more than $150,000.

“It’s disgusting to have this kind of person in the organization,” said former fire colonel Ludovic Pinganaud, adding that of the 200,000 volunteer firefighters in France only “a few sick people” are addicted. fire.

Huyen Le (Follow Guardian)

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