NEWS

Forest rangers see operational failures in tackling deadly blaze

TAGS: Fires

Greece’s union of forest rangers said responsibilities should be attributed to those who failed to stop a wildfire that killed at least 91 people in a coastal town in east Attica last week.

The Hellenic Federation of Forest Rangers said in a press release that the battle to save the coast was lost when the flames crossed over the mountain of Pendeli.

The fast approaching blaze struck the town of Mati, a popular tourist resort 17 miles east of Athens, trapping people in narrow streets and dead-ends.

“Responsibilities [for the fire] will be attributed by judicial authorities. However, we cannot overlook the operational responsibilities that exist, which we believe will be attributed since, in our view, stemming from years of experience … we believe that the battle was lost on Pendeli, before it reached Neos Voutzas,” the union said on Tuesday.

According to a report by the Hellenic Fire Service’s arson department (DAEE), the deadly fire started in Pendeli, a mountain overlooking the east coast of Attica, on the afternoon of July 23.

Fanned by strong winds, it quickly descended the mountain, ripping through the town of Neos Voutzas and reaching Mati on the coast.

The government and the opposition have quarrelled over whether an evacuation order was issued and whether rescue services responded in a timely manner.

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