Pact to close the case of the great fire in Horta de Sant Joan del (Tarragona) that in July 2009 ended the lives of five firefighters from the Generalitat. This Wednesday, when the fire is twelve years old, the two men who caused the catastrophe have closed an agreement with the accusations brought by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Government for which they accept sentences of four and three years and nine months in jail respectively.
The sentence of conformity, which will be published in the next few days, will condemn the defendants for the crimes of reckless homicides, injuries and also that of forest fire. The penalties requested for the accusations, which demanded 20 years in prison for each defendant, are reduced in exchange for the arsonists having admitted the facts and paying compensation of almost nine million euros to the relatives of the deceased and for damage to the forest and crops, reports the ACN.
The firefighters Jordi Morè, 40 years old; Pau Costa, 31; Ramon Espinet, 47; David Duaigües, 29; and Jaume Arpa, 40, died of burns. Josep Pallàs, then 36 years old, suffered burns in 75% of the body, survived, and today continues in the fire department, as he himself explained in an interview with elDiario.es two years ago, when a decade of fire.
Both defendants had overwhelming evidence against them that has pushed them to a pact with the accusations with which they avoid sitting before a popular jury. On the other hand, the accusations have also given their approval to the agreement, taking into account that, in the event of a trial, the eventual sentence would end up being much less than the 20 years requested due to the delay that the procedure has accumulated.
The two men lit a fire on 20 July at dusk in the area of the Covars dels Ports de Beseit ravine without taking any precautions and being fully aware of the consequences. As the investigation concluded, the fire was not only caused by the defendants, who caused it deliberately, that is, they were aware of the serious danger that the flames would generate for people and nature, since there were ‘farmhouses’ in the area inhabited and was near Horta de Sant Joan.
Both defendants, added the investigating judge when he sent them to trial, did not notify the emergency services and lied to the owner of a ‘farmhouse’, to whom they said they had called 112 when in fact the first call was made by a farmer from the area at 21:03:18. As a result of the fire that both defendants lit, the flames spread through the mountains and the fire was not controlled until three days later. In addition to the firefighters belonging to the GRAF of Lleida who died when they were surrounded by flames after a sudden change in the wind, the fire burned 1,182.45 hectares, according to the judicial expert.