A report by a technical expert enlisted by relatives of people who died in last month’s Attica wildfires has blamed the tragedy on the delayed response of the fire service, miscalculations in allocating resources and manpower to multiple fronts, and the failure to evacuate residents.
The 70-page report was submitted on Tuesday to the Athens prosecutors who are leading an investigation into the disaster.
As for the cause of the fire, the report points to “human negligence” and specifically the actions of a local resident who is said to have burned wood outside his home on the afternoon of July 23. According to sources, several residents of the Daou area of Mount Pendeli have pointed the finger at a 65-year-old man.
Video footage from a home in the area, obtained by Kathimerini, showed the fire breaking out in a clearing between houses and spreading quickly.
Meanwhile, demolition work in the coastal settlement of Mati, eastern Attica, which bore the brunt of the fires, continued on Tuesday with bulldozers knocking down the remains of a third charred building.
Authorities have stressed that demolition efforts are focusing on structures that were badly damaged in the blazes and not on the thousands of illegally built homes that the government pledged to knock down in the wake of the fires.
Alongside the demolition works, the Hellenic Recycling Agency completed its removal of hundreds of charred cars from the streets of Mati in which dozens of motorists became trapped during their efforts to flee the blaze on July 23. The agency removed a total of 475 burned vehicles from the area.
Separately, a 36-year-old foreign national was remanded in custody on Tuesday following his arrest on forestland in Neohori, Halkidiki, with five lighters in his possession. The suspect faces charges of arson in connection with a fire that broke out in a pine forest in the area on Saturday.