Family speak of greek forest fire ordeal

Family speak of greek forest fire ordeal

29 August 2006

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A PORT St Mary woman has described the horror of fleeing their hotel in Greece because of raging forest fires – see today’s Isle of Man Examiner.

Alison Hirst, 42, husband Rob, 46, daughter Lauren, 14 and son Robert, 11, were on holiday on the Halkidiki peninsula when disaster struck.

Flames leapt 300 metres high and thousands of acres of forest and dozens of buildings were destroyed.

The family gathered vital documents and fled their hotel to the beach, where they watched in terror as the fire got ever closer.

Rob, a depot manager at Colas, and other men helped carry water to fight the fire.

The family got the all-clear to return to their hotel, which had no electricity, water or toilets.

But their ordeal was to go on.

‘We did not realise the forest behind could be alight for days,’ Alison said.

‘We were having a rest and suddenly we heard this shout of “evacuate, evacuate”.

‘They said we had to pack everything. We threw everything in cases.’

The family then suffered an agonising five-hour wait for a coach to take them to Thessalonika.

‘There was soot coming down, we had stinging eyes,’ Alison explained.

‘Planes were trying to put the fire out with seawater. There is one road up and one road down for the peninsula and there were traffic jams.’

The family opted to return home rather than go back to the resort – and now want compensation.


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