A wildfire that killed over 80 people in Greece this week may have been started deliberately, the government said on Thursday. The fire had broken out on Monday.
A “serious piece of information” has prompted an investigation into possible “criminal acts” behind the fire in Mati village, east of Athens, Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas said, according to AFP. Another fire, which struck on the same day near Kineta on the west of Athens, will also be investigated to find out if it was “intentionally” lit, Toskas said. No one had died in that fire.
“There are testimonies but I cannot say anything more now,” Toskas said. Thirteen fires broke out at the same time across the Attica region, which includes the Greek capital, officials said, citing satellite maps.
The toll in the fire in Mati village reached 82 on Thursday, as public anger against authorities continues to mount. Around 187 people were hospitalised, of whom 71 were still being treated on Wednesday evening.
The government has announced a compensation of 10,000 euros to families of those who died, and 5,000 euros for each affected property. Almost half of the 2,500 homes surveyed by experts after the fire are uninhabitable, the government said.
The fire in Mati village is by far the country’s worst since blazes devastated the southern Peloponnese peninsula in August 2007, killing at least 63 people.