Probe into fires gathers pace as death toll rises

Probe into fires gathers pace as death toll rises

As the death toll from last month’s disastrous wildfires on the outskirts of Attica rose to 96, a judicial investigation into who or what was responsible for the extent of the tragedy – one of the worst in Greece’s modern history – has been quickly gathering pace. 

Athens court of first instance prosecutor Ilias Zagoraios and his deputy in the probe, Varvara Gnesouli, have been busy taking depositions from relatives of fire victims, many of whom are also taking legal action against the authorities for failing to act quickly enough to prevent the disaster. 

Some of the relatives have assigned experts to conduct independent investigations into the actions of rescue services and local authority officials. 

Evidence pointing to a series of mistakes and oversights by the fire service, police and regional authorities has already emerged through the parallel investigations of prosecutors and independent experts and through Kathimerini reports bringing to light calls to the fire service and police on the fateful afternoon of July 23. 

As the death toll from the disaster rose to 96 on Tuesday with the death of a 68-year-old burns victim who had been in an intensive care unit (ICU) since the night of the fires, there are concerns about another three people who remain in ICUs. A total of 29 burns victims remain hospitalized, three of whom are in critical condition. 

Meanwhile 107 families who survived the blazes at Neos Voutzas and Mati in eastern Attica but whose homes were damaged are living in military facilities, Kathimerini understands. Dozens saw their properties razed in the flames while for others the damage to their homes was mainly superficial.

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