After quake, fire forces block residents to flee

Residents of an Athens apartment block had to abandon their homes for a second time in six years after a fire broke out in a ground-floor supermarket on Saturday, possibly causing structural damage to the earthquake-hit building. Witnesses said three hooded men smashed the windows of the Galaxias supermarket in Aghioi Anargyroi early Saturday and threw petrol bombs, setting the store on fire. Firefighters put out the blaze but not before the supermarket was totally destroyed, said its owners. Concerned tenants of the five-story building called experts to assess possible structural damage and were told that further checks are necessary to certify its safety, forcing them to stay elsewhere until then. The building suffered serious damage after the 5.9-Richter earthquake in Athens in 1999 and had work done on its foundations.