Not everybody is impressed with the fire in the Split area.
While most of Croatia was shocked and terrified with the recent fire which almost engulfed Split and was extinguished at the very last moment by joint efforts of firefighters and the local population, Croatian politicians and officials were much less impressed. First among them was Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who gave a series of rather interesting statements about the fire which literally came to within a few metres to buildings in the second largest Croatian town.
First, he came very late to Split to see what was going on and meet with representatives of emergency services. And then, after the meeting, he said that the “fire was interesting because it has practically reached the first buildings,” and added that the fire was “attractive because Split was in question.” He did not explain why he thought such a major fire could ever be described as attractive, but he did confirm his reputation for being a person with absolutely no empathy.
Plenković also claimed, as probably the only person in Croatia who could say something like that, that all services did a great job and that the only reason for people thinking otherwise was the internet, “where everybody communicates with everybody,” as well as the media which likes to emphasise allegedly isolated incidents.
His opinion is apparently and unsurprisingly shared by Ante Sanader, former Plenković’s party official and current president of the Croatian Firefighting Association. On Thursday, he said that firefighting officials did not want to call in the army to help because the military is not equipped or trained to do it. He also described the fire near Split as “routine.”
“We did not want to call in the army. I have told that to the President, the Prime Minister and everyone else, the military is not for extinguishing fires. The military can help, but it is neither equipped nor trained,” said Sanader.
“The fire in Split was a routine fire for me. I have seen dozens of such fires in my career, but many media outlets and firefighters are trying to take advantage of this situation,” said Sanader. He added that mayors often give statements about the system not functioning, and such statements are then being recycled by the media forever.
“Local administration units are virtually ‘dead’, and they cannot invest more funds than they have. There will be new fires next week,” said Sanader on Thursday afternoon.