Restaurant blast burns owner and kills friend

The owner of a Santorini restaurant, which had been ordered to close, was fighting for his life last night after suffering serious burns when a gas leak at his establishment on Monday night led to an explosion which killed his friend and seriously injured two women. The blast at the Kolonaki cafe-restaurant in the town of Oia was caused by a leak from three 25-liter cooking gas bottles in the kitchen, authorities said. Dimitris Kalozis was killed in the explosion and the owner, Yiannis Magoutas, suffered burns over 60 percent of his body, which he was being treated for in an Athens hospital. Local authorities had ordered Magoutas to shut down his restaurant in 2003 after a lawsuit by police because the land on which it was built was considered of archaeological interest. Magoutas won an appeal and re-opened his establishment on August 2, only to be immediately ordered to close it again by police. Two women suffered broken limbs in the blast and were yesterday being treated at KAT hospital in Athens. All three injured parties were transferred to Athens in a military aircraft. Another two Italians were slightly injured when passing by the restaurant at the time of the blast.