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New fires raging in Athens, state of emergency was announced

23 August 2009 / 10:08:14  GRReporter
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Since early morning on Saturday fire brigades are fighting the firestorm that burst on Friday night and quickly grew into a disaster. North-east parts of the Greek capital look like a battle field with land forces, aviation and volunteers participating in the fight; municipality authorities announced a state of emergency. 53 fire cars with 160 people personnel and 50 infantrymen are taking part in the operation. From 6:15 in Saturday morning 12 airplanes and 5 helicopters specialized in fire-fight are circling the Athenian sky. Tens of municipality cisterns were brought to the area, as well as military units.

The fire started in the area of Grammatikos suburb, closer to Varnava; as NET television announced, many of the people living there link the fires to the protests against building a dumping ground in Grammatikos, for which GRReporter has already informed you. According to witnesses the fire started several hundred meters away from the dumping-ground location. A special unit of fire-defense services is studying the reliability of the information.

On Friday night it looked like the disaster has been put under control, but the strong winds and the lack of fire-defense airplanes and helicopters during the night brought to the current firestorm. The situation in the area where the fire is raging is quite complicated since besides wood fields, there is a neighborhood with residential buildings there. First, the fire was localized between Grammatikos and Varnava, but later reached the villages Marathonas, Kaletsi and Trinity. In the early afternoon flames could be seen with naked eye from the north Athenian suburb Stamata, where a command post of additional forces has been formed in order to stop the fire reach the hills of Pendelis mountain. Several houses were burnt down in Grammatikos, Varnava and Kaletsi; for now, however, the international airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" is functioning as usual and no disturbances have been caused by the thick smoke covering a significant part of Athens.

There is a military building in the vicinity of Varnava where missiles are stored. They were moved in the military building of Kapandritti in order to avoid their inflammation. As a result of the fire, two electricity-transferring lines of the Greek National Electric Company were destroyed which created problems with electricity supply in the area.

 

Tags: Greece fires Athens state of emergency
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