POLICE have arrested two people over the Laguna Village fire in Estepona which caused serious damage to the shopping centre and the surrounding area.
National Police investigating the incident focused on a small hut that was allegedly supplied with electricity through an illegal connection to a house nearby on the electricity grid.
A man and a woman aged 43 and 51, respectively, both of Spanish nationality, have been arrested for alleged arson due to gross negligence, damage and electricity supply fraud. Electrical technicians working for the police concluded that an electrical failure in an appliance located in the hut close to a country house, located in a field near the Padrón River, would have caused the fire that spread rapidly fanned by the wind.
Technicians found that the hut was supplied with electricity through an illegal connection to the power grid, located about 100 metres away with the power cable running through the land.
Inside the hut/cabin, there was evidence of the existence of electrical appliances such as an electric frying pan and a fan. Due to the severity of the blaze these items themselves were almost beyond recognition. After the inspection, which was carried out by officers of the Malaga Provincial Police Station, everything indicated that it was an electrical failure in one of the devices that caused the fire.
The fire started on Saturday around 1.45pm in an area near the Padrón river in Estepona. The fire spread rapidly in the direction of the coastline, taking advantage of the strong west wind that was present at that time and spreading until it reached the shopping centre, which was open to the public, as well as the vicinity of a nearby hotel. It was necessary to quickly evacuate both the customers who were staying at the hotel and the customers in the shopping centre.
The shopping centre was left devastated by the fire which caused extensive damage. The hotel complex, meanwhile, suffered minor damage. A number of nearby houses had to be evacuated, though only causing minor damage to some of them.