A local man has been arrested for causing a huge fire on Tuesday in a scooter parking area near the Barrier Gate checkpoint which gutted 90 scooters after discarding a lit cigarette, Judiciary Police (PJ) Director Chao Wai Kuong said a special press conference on Thursday night.
Chao briefed reporters about the case on the spot of the fire, where PJ officers also arranged for the suspect to show them in a crime re-enactment how he had discarded the still lit cigarette end which caused the blaze.
The suspect, a 34-year-old local surnamed Che who works as a driver, was arrested on Thursday afternoon at a car dealer in Areia Preta.
Chao said surveillance camera recordings from a nearby school showed that Che had been smoking near the area right before the fire started.
Chao said the suspect admitted to have thrown his lit cigarette away after urinating near the scooter parking area, and that he has a habit of throwing away cigarette stubs without extinguishing them.
The cigarette butt then started a fire in nearby cardboard boxes, said Chao, adding that the blaze quickly spread to the vehicles because of strong wind.
Four nearby shops were burnt as well, with the repairs estimated to cost about 1.5 million patacas, according to Chao. Four residents felt ill from smoke inhalation.
According to the police, the suspect will be transferred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for possible arraignment on a charge for causing fire due to negligence, facing one to eight years behind bars according to Article 264 of the Macau Penal Code.
(Macau News / The Macau Post Daily)