Six fire engines and twenty fire-fighters were involved in extinguishing a fire in downtown Athens shortly after eight in the morning. The flames enveloped an abandoned bookshop in one of the most central streets of Athens, Stadiou, on a level with Klathmonos Square. The bookshop is on the ground floor of a five-storey uninhabited building and the cause of the fire is not yet known according to the maintenance crew, which was on the scene of the incident. Stadiou Street connects Omonia Square with Syntagma Square and is known for the shops as well as for the number of representations of large banks. The buildings of several banks and the Atikon cinema on the same street were deliberately burned during the civil unrest in February this year, when the second Memorandum of financial aid was enforced.
Witnesses claim that there was neither an explosion on the scene, nor were unusual activities noticed in the area before the fire. The cause of the accident is supposed to be a failure. The fire brigade responded immediately and the fire did not spread to adjacent shops. "There is no damage to our shop," the manager of a shop for young peoples' clothes and underwear located next to the bookshop told GRReporter.
In mid-August the Greek capital is nearly empty and the majority of local residents take advantage of the days around 15 August (The Assumption, which is a national and public holiday in Greece) to go on vacation. Street traffic is calm and the fire brigade managed to reach the scene in a short time. However, the situation with fires in the countryside and forest areas is different. The access to the centre of the blazes is more difficult there and the risk of spread is greater. According to the fire service, 51 urban and 29 forest fires broke out in Greece between 6 am on 13 August and 6 am on 14 August.
The fire on Mount Athos on the third arm of Chalkidiki Peninsula was contained and under control after almost a week of fighting with the growing flames. It affected over two thousand acres of pine forests and agricultural lands, Kathimerini reports. According to Sky TV, the fight with the natural blaze involved 64 fire engines, 175 fire-fighters, 58 people from the land forces, 15 specialized aircraft and 5 helicopters. The biggest challenge for fire-fighters in fighting the fire was the lack of good infrastructure in order to reach the centre of the fire. 27 water-carries and 128 civilian volunteers were mobilized in cooperation with the fire forces. The Bulgarian government sent 2 fire engines with 8 fire-fighters and the Serbian government sent 8 cars with 49 fire-fighters. The Ministry of Defence lent a hand too and sent 314 military men with 25 specialized machines and 2 Chinook helicopters.
The fire in Cyprus in the province of Lemesos was brought under control after it had spread to the areas of Hirokitia, Vavatsinia and Kato Dri. Police arrested three Turkish Cypriots on suspicion of arson. Imerisia reports that one of them confessed that they had lit the cables in the vicinity to extract the copper wire for scrap. Currently, the investigation is ongoing. Dozens of fire-fighters and volunteers fought with the natural blaze on Sunday in order to restrict and eventually extinguish the fires before they reached the settlements. The fire was partially restricted on Monday and extinguished at 6 am on Tuesday. The fire spread over a total area of 13 sq km and devastated 4 sq km of wild nature.