Ex-fire chief to stand trial over deadly 2018 East Attica blaze

Ex-fire chief to stand trial over deadly 2018 East Attica blaze

The former chief of Greece’s fire service is due to stand trial on Tuesday over his alleged attempt to cover up failings in the response to the deadly blaze in Mati, eastern Attica, in the summer of 2018.

Vassilis Matthaiopoulos faces charges of dereliction of duty and coercion, among other crimes, in the wake of a complaint regarding his response to a judicial investigation into the handling of the blaze, which claimed 102 lives and left more than 32 people with serious injuries.

Matthaiopoulos has been the subject of a complaint filed by an expert appointed by the Athens prosecutor’s office, Dimitris Liotsos, to investigate possible criminal negligence in the response to the fire in the east Attica town. 

In the lawsuit, Liotsos claims that he came under pressure from Matthaiopoulos to cover up evidence pointing to multiple failures by the fire service in its response to the blaze, which started on the slopes of Mount Parnitha and quickly spread down to the seaside resort.

Tuesday’s trial is expected to be postponed, possibly until after the holidays.

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