Ukrainian with criminal record says set fire to grass in Chernobyl zone 'for fun'
KYIV. April 9 (Interfax) - The man responsible for the fire that spread to an area of 5 hectares of forests the Chernobyl exclusion zone has been named a suspect in a crime, the press service of the National Police of Ukraine said on Thursday.
In the course of the probe, officials from the Ivanivsky police station identified a man involved in the lighting of a fire in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
"The person is a 27-year-old resident of the village of Rahivka, who has a criminal record. The man told the police he set fire to wild grass in several spots near an abandoned local farm for fun," the report said.
The fire spread to an area of 5 hectares in the Kotovske forestry.
"A decision on whether the young man will be taken into custody is pending. An investigation is underway," the police said.
There is currently no open flame in the Chernobyl exclusion zone on the territories of the Korogorodsky, Denysovetsky and Kotovske forestries and grass is smoldering in some places, the Ukrainian State Emergency Situations Service said on Thursday morning.
A total of 310 people and 90 pieces of equipment, including 225 personnel of the Ukrainian State Emergency Situations Service and 56 pieces of the State Emergency Situations Service's equipment, are now used for fighting the fires in the exclusion zone. On April 8, the State Emergency Situations Service aircraft flew 61 missions to drop 248 tonnes of water. The missions involved Antonov An-32P planes (21 missions, 168 tonnes of water) and Mi-8 helicopters (80 tonnes of water).
As reported, the Ukrainian State Emergency Situations Service received a call at 1:22 p.m. on April 4 about a crown fire on an area of 20 hectares in the Kotovske forestry near the village of Volodymyrivka in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.