Turkey wildfire toll hits 15 as experts flag faulty wires

DIYARBAKIR   -   The death toll from a massive wildfire that ripped through Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast last week has risen to 15, hospital sources said on Monday with experts pointing to faulty wiring as a possible cause.  The blaze, which broke out on Thursday between the cities of Diyarbakir and Mardin, killed 12 people outright and left five more fighting for their lives.

Three of those succumbed to their injuries on Sunday, the Anadolu state news agency said. Hospital sources confirmed the toll on Monday, saying two people remained in intensive care.  Hundreds of animals also perished in the blaze that roared across the dry landscape.

The government said “stubble burning” was the cause but the Diyarbakir branch of the Chambers of Turkish Architects and Engineers (TMMOB) ruled that out and pointed to faulty electric cables as the likely trigger.

“The fire could have been caused by the power cables,” it said in a report released late on Sunday, indicating that there was “no stubble” in the area and that electric wires there were in a state of disrepair.

“The cause of the fire was not the stubble. The electricity cables and poles were unmaintained and dangerous,” it said, pointing to the absence of “fire prevention measures around the poles”.

It also accused private electricity distributor DEDAS, which is responsible for maintaining the area’s power lines, of “replacing and repairing the poles the day after the fire, thus obscuring the evidence”.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt