Despite talk by government officials that arsonists could have been behind Monday’s wildfires, an investigation conducted by the Hellenic Fire Service’s arson department (DAEE) suggested the cause was negligence.
The report came on the heels of comments on Thursday by Alternate Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas, who said there were “indications” the fire was the result of arson.
However, DAEE said that its investigation in Daou Pendeli, where the wildfire started, showed that it probably began due to a private individual, most likely a resident of the area, who started a fire to burn wood and branches. According to a source, the identity of the individual is reportedly known to authorities.
The same source said that the suspect sought to cover up the evidence of the fire he set by covering the area he burnt with stones and using large quantities of water to wash away the the remnants of the wood and branches.
However, the investigation also revealed that two separate fires which started on Monday night on a rural road in nearby Nea Makri showed evidence that deliberate arson was involved. Witnesses reportedly said they saw an individual starting two fires on the road.