A former volunteer firefighter, suspected of being the author of two fires in early August in the Hérault, was placed in pre-trial detention on Thursday, the public prosecutor of Béziers announced on Saturday. The 33-year-old man will appear on September 28 before the Béziers criminal court for these two fires. He faces 10 years in prison, said prosecutor Raphaël Balland.
On August 2, around 7:00 p.m., the Hérault fire and rescue services intervened on a vegetation fire in the natural and agricultural area of Pézenas. The fire, extinguished in two hours, had spread over 500 m2 without causing any damage to homes. The gendarmes of Pézenas were then alerted to the presence on the scene of an individual with suspicious behavior who had also been seen in the afternoon near a first start of fire, quickly circumscribed by the firefighters.
Arrested on the day of the events when he was alcoholic, he ended up recognizing, after his sobering up, being the author of the fire of the evening. On the other hand, he disputed any responsibility in the first outbreak of fire and explained his gesture by his alcoholism, said the prosecution. In front of the gendarmes, he declared living in Villeurbanne (Rhône), having been a volunteer firefighter in Ardèche between 2008 and 2011 and having come to Hérault with his companion to visit her family.
The man, already convicted of acts of violence by a spouse, was referred on August 4 to the Béziers prosecutor’s office. At the end of July, already in the Hérault, a forester, also a volunteer firefighter, had admitted in police custody to being the author of several fires explaining his actions by the adrenaline rush they caused and a need for “recognition social”.
With already more than 47,000 hectares burned since the start of the year, France experienced a record number of burned areas in July, the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) announced on Friday, which keeps comparable statistics. since 2006.