Large Fire East of Athens Appears to Be Under Control
AP 12 Aug 2019, 02:46
A firefighter observes a damaged house during a wildfire in Peania, eastern Athens, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (ATHENS, Greece) — A big fire that spread quickly overnight in an eastern suburb of Athens appeared to be under control soon after dawn Monday.
Greek firefighters on Monday brought under control a major forest fire that was threatening homes on the outskirts of Athens, officials said.In Pic: A firefighter pours water through a hose as during a wildfire on Mount Hymettus, near Athens.AP
At least two houses were burned but there were no reports of injuries as police quickly evacuated the area and blocked roads. “Two homes were burned but nobody was inside…for now no residential areas are in danger,” greater Athens deputy regional governor Petros Filippou told reporters.In Pic: A firefighter observes a damaged house during a wildfire in Peania, eastern Athens.AP
The civil protection authority said the blaze started around 3 am (0000 GMT) in the eastern suburb of Peania, in the pine-forested foothills of Mount Ymittos. “It was a huge fire with flames around 20 metres (60 feet) high, near homes,” civil protection chief Nikos Hardalias told Antenna TV.In Pic: A cloud of smoke raises from a forest fire at an area of Marathon town, northeast of Athens.AP
Over 130 firemen were dispatched to the scene to stop the fire spreading to heavily inhabited areas nearby. Fire-bombing aircraft joined the operation at first light.
In Pic: Firemen douse a fire on the island of Elafonissos, on the southern edge of Peloponnese Peninsula on August 10, 2019, forcing a precautional evacuation of a popular camping site.AP
Greece has been hit by a spate of wildfires since the weekend amid gale-force winds and temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 F). On Sunday, a fire on the small island of Elafonissos,in the Peloponnese region was brought under control after a two-day battle. It was estimated to have burned a quarter of the island, forcing authorities to evacuate a campsite and hotel.Two more fires were doused on Saturday in Marathon, close to Mati, the coastal resort where last year 102 people died in Greece’s worst fire disaster.
In Pic: A firefighting helicopter drops water over a forest fire at an area of Marathon town, northeast of Athens.AP
Emergency services had been placed on high alert since Friday, with Hardalias noting it was the first time since 2012 the country had faced such a dangerous mix of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity.In Pic: A helicopter drops water over a fire in Peania, eastern Athens
last years report
Nikos Economopoulos, head of Greece’s Red Cross, told Skai TV about the 26 bodies found in the garden of a villa in Mati.
He said: “They had tried to find an escape route but unfortunately these people and their kids didn’t make it in time.”
The coastguard said the bodies of four people had been retrieved from the sea off Mati this morning.
One of the youngest victims was thought to be a six-month-old baby who died of smoke inhalation.
Police said they found two Danish tourists in a boat off the coast from Rafina. Another eight people from the group were still missing.
Mayor Bournos said he hoped the death toll would not exceed 100.
He said: “There are more dead people than announced, I can confirm that.