26 years ago, the firefighter Giannos Karaolis was called to put out a fire in the shooting range of Kalo Chorio, which was caused by EF shots. The firing officer signaled to the fire truck to enter the firing range. When the fire truck arrived at the scene of the fire, the mortars began to fall. Due to poor communication between the firing officer and his colleagues, the mortar fire did not stop. The first mortar fell near the site of the fire. Fortunately, Giannos and his colleague were not injured, but from the explosion, as he stated to “P”, he lost the metal personal numbers he brought to his jacket. Twenty-six years later, Giannos was called to hand over his metal personal numbers 546. He explained to them that he had lost them on duty in the explosions at the Kalo Chorio shooting range, where he escaped by chance. It was impossible to convince them, as a result of which Giannos received a letter (see photocopy) asking him to deliver both pairs of his metal personal numbers to the service warehouse, otherwise he would have to pay the amount of € 23 and 80 cents. for each pair.
As the firefighter Giannos Karaolis stated to “P”, his complaint is not the € 23.80 he is required to pay, but the way he is treated by his service.
With the recent autonomy of the Fire Service, all members of the force were called to return the metal numbers they have in their possession as they belong to the Police. Otherwise, as mentioned in the letter received by firefighter Giannos Karaolis, the amount of € 23.80 must be paid for each couple. It should be noted that these metal numbers ceased to be used at least 15 years ago, when the firefighters' uniform was changed.The complaint of the firefighter Giannos Karaolis was brought yesterday to the attention of the press representative of the Fire Service, Mr. Andreas Kettis. After investigating the matter, he told us the following: The members of the Fire Service have charged personal equipment which they use in the exercise of their duties. At the same time, they have a responsibility to take care of him. In case the personal equipment of a firefighter is damaged, there is a defined procedure where the loss or damage to the personal equipment is declared and it is not justified, then the service immediately proceeds to its replacement. According to Mr. Kettis, in this case the firefighter Giannos Karaolis would have to declare the loss of his metal personal numbers from then on and the service would proceed to replace them. Basically what is indirectly posed by the Fire Service is the question, “what is the proof that the metal personal numbers were lost in the explosion 26 years ago?”
“Shame and disgrace”
In his written complaint that he forwarded to “P” yesterday, the firefighter Giannos Karaolis literally states the following: “26 years ago I was serving my term at the Larnaca – Aradippou fire station. We received a call for fire in the shooting range of Kalo Chorio, Larnaca, in cereals and wild vegetation. The fire was caused by a shot fired by the National Guard. We responded immediately to the incident with the fire truck SE842. I was the driver of the vehicle with my co-driver A.P. from Anafotia. As soon as we reached the shooting range I noticed that the shooting did not stop and continued. We met the officer who was in charge of the shooting and he told us that he would give instructions to stop the shooting and a signal to us to enter the shooting range to put out the fire. So it happened. I took the signal and headed to the scene of the fire. Arriving at the hearth of the fire I heard a loud explosion. The fire truck was washed with stones and dirt. My sleeve with the honored numbers 546 and part of my kit disappeared from the driver's door that was fitted due to the shock wave caused by the explosion. Panic ensued. In my attempt to escape with the fire truck, 3 to 4 mortars fell near the fire truck. We escaped by chance. We had wishes and protection from the Virgin Mary. I remember, actions were taken by the Fire Brigade Headquarters and from then until today we stopped going to the shooting ranges. I received many honors, even from the then metropolitan of Kiti.
On May 26, 2022 I received a letter from the Ministry of Justice, signed by an officer of the Fire Service, asking them to pay them the amount of 23 euros and 80 cents as the value of the metal numbers 546 lost in the explosions inside the firing range of Kalo Chorio Larnaca. Shame and disgrace, Minister of Justice. I leave the matter to the judgment of the Cypriot people. “
Firefighter Giannos Karaolis, at the end of his letter – complaint, points out the following to the Minister of Justice and the leadership of the Fire Service:” If you intend to seek compensation and from the families of Marie's victims for the missing metal numbers lost in the explosion, please add the amount to my invoice. “