Games official held for Mt Parnitha blaze

The director of the Olympic mountain bike riding venue on the northern fringes of Athens and a laborer working for the Games organizing committee were arrested yesterday on suspicion of having inadvertently sparked a forest fire in the area. The laborer was taken into custody shortly after a team of 65 firemen – assisted by four firefighting airplanes and two helicopters – managed to extinguish the blaze, which destroyed half a hectare of forest in the Metochi area of Mount Parnitha. Fire brigade officials quoted by the Athens News Agency said the laborer had been cutting down an old wire fence with an electric saw, which set off sparks believed to have ignited dry brush. The venue official was arrested for allegedly ordering the man to do the job. The men’s names were not revealed.

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