Skip to comments.Greek Forest Fires Kill 47 As Blaze Nears Athens
Posted on 08/25/2007 8:18:41 PM PDT by blam
Greek forest fires kill 47 as blaze nears Athens
By Roya Nikkhah, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:40am BST 26/08/2007
Forest fires have ripped through southern Greece, killing 47 people, injuring 40 and leaving hundreds homeless.
A hot, dry summer and a three-day heatwave with temperatures of 40C created the tinderbox conditions
A national state of emergency was declared yesterday as firemen fought up to 170 fires which have raged since Friday, forcing the evacuation of dozens of villages.
The southern Peloponnese region was described as a "crematorium" by officials, who said the death toll was expected to rise as gale-force winds fanned the flames.
Georgie Stewart, a British holidaymaker in the region, described how she was forced to flee her house.
She said: "We suddenly saw the smoke coming over a hill about two miles from our house. Then we left when the fire was about 500 yards away. We saw people desperately trying to get up into the hills to reach elderly relatives, people on motorbikes carrying grannies - it really was a scene of panic and chaos."
The worst hit area is the western Peloponnese, near the town of Zahero, where at least 30 people, thought to include several children, have died. More than 230 villages in the area are without electricity.
Nine of those killed near Zahero, including three firemen, died after a car crashed into a fire engine, causing a major traffic jam and trapping residents.
A hot, dry summer and a three-day heatwave with temperatures of 104F (40C) created the tinderbox conditions.
Costas Karamanlis, the Greek Prime Minister, said the country was facing "an unspeakable tragedy". After a visit to some of the afflicted areas yesterday, Mr Karamanlis said: "This is a day of national mourning. I wish to express my deep grief over the lost lives. We are fighting on many fronts and under particularly tough conditions."
Flags flew at half-mast over the Greek parliament as Mr Karamanlis held an emergency meeting in Athens. Officials appealed to EU countries for help. France sent two firefighting aircraft, while Germany offered three helicopters.
Officials in Greece blamed arson in several cases after up to 20 new fires broke out overnight on Friday
Officials blamed arson in several cases after up to 20 new fires broke out overnight on Friday. The military were drafted in to help firefighters. Police last night arrested and charged a man with arson and multiple counts of homicide in a deadly fire in southern Greece that left six people dead.
The 65-year-old was arrested in connection with the fire in the southern Peloponnese town of Areopolis, where five people were burned to death on Friday and one firefighter died of a heart attack while battling the flames.
Yesterday, several areas on the edge of Athens were evacuated as the city was covered by black smoke from fires on Mount Hymettus, to the east, forcing the closure of the main road to Athens Airport. A general election due on September 16 could be shelved after campaigning was cancelled.
Any possibility of terrorist involvement?
We musn't fall into this trap with knee-jerk reaction to every unfortunate thing that happens around the globe.
On the other hand, I look under my bed every night to make sure some hooded jihadi isn't under it.
Why would any self respecting terrorist want to set fires in Greece?
Revenge for the movie “300”...?
Describing a terrorist as “self respecting”? I haven’t heard of one of those.
There’s word that at least some of the fires were started by organized criminal factions in some kind of fight they’re having with each other.
People spent a great deal of effort on FR trying to connect basically all the wildfires of Southern California the last couple of years to Muslim terrorists.
Not a one had anything to do with it. Post a couple weeks ago about some indictments being handed down for a lot of them - lost campers, people causing sparks with pickup trucks, etc.