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Press Release

Zhillovodë/Žilivoda excavation site caught fire

17 July 2012

The exact area where EULEX-DFM is excavating in search of an alleged mass grave caught fire. A 12 meter high wall was in flames. The Kosovo Security Force (KSF) and Vushtrri/ Vučitrn Fire Departments attended the scene and together with the KSF Battalion of Engineers and EULEX coordinated the fire-fighting operation.

Alan Robinson, Co-Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine said “It took more than 7 hours to bring the fire under control. I want to commend the KSF staff on the ground as well as the Vushtrri/ Vučitrn Fire Department for their perseverance in what was a high risk situation for all those involved”. Two fire-engines were deployed and heavy equipment was used to move soil on to the burning area.

However, the damage to the site has been extensive, '”This is a significant set-back for our site assessment. There has been considerable damage to walls which will now have to demolished. Excavation work has been put on hold. EULEX will evaluate how safe it is to continue. At this point it is too early to say”, Robinson said.

The causes of the fire have not been established yet. EULEX is launching an investigation.