NEWS

Samos blaze seen as arson

A huge blaze that raged for three days in a row on the northern Aegean island of Samos is believed to be the work of arsonists, firemen said yesterday after finally managing to put it out. The fire, which started late on Wednesday in the area of Kokkari, spread quickly, fanned by strong winds. Witnesses reported seeing three different fronts appear almost simultaneously, seen as indication that several arsonists worked together. Another smaller fire ravaged the area of Kedros, near Kokkari, last week. The extent of the damage wreaked by the two blazes remained unclear yesterday. Samos is one of the most fire-scarred island in the Aegean, with more than 16,000 hectares of forestland razed over the past decade. Authorities on Samos had not arrested any suspects by late yesterday. According to the national fire service, a total of 30 suspected arsonists have been charged so far this year – seven alleged to have started fires intentionally, the remainder through negligence.