Potential role of power infrastructure in north Athens fire being investigated


An Athens prosecutor on Thursday ordered a preliminary investigation into the cause of the wildfire that ripped through 3,000 hectares in northern Athens on Tuesday and Wednesday, destroying homes, businesses and forestland.

In particular, the probe will focus on the part potentially played by electricity infrastructure in or near the area where the fire began, on the outskirts of the suburb of Varybobi at midday on Tuesday.

 It will seek to ascertain whether there is any truth in rumors that the fire was sparked by an explosion from a faulty electricity transformer, as well as questioning the impact of overground high-voltage pylons and lines in areas like the Varybobi suburban forest. 

It will further investigate reports in the media that firefighting aircraft were unable to operate in certain parts of the area because of the presence of electricity pylons and wires.

Greece’s power grid operator, DEDDIE, has denied reports of a transformer explosion and said, in a statement on Wednesday, that it has no infrastructure within a kilometer of where the fire started.

Several parts of Athens experienced power cuts on Tuesday as a result of the fire.