Greece — A fire that broke out on the island of Skiathos yesterday morningravaged forestland and forced the evacuation of three villages and two hotelsbefore it was contained late last night as strong winds waned.
A few homes were damaged by the blaze, believed to have started near agarbage dumpster, but there were no injuries.
The head of the fire service, Andreas Kois, arrived on the island in theafternoon as the General Secretariat for Civil Protection declared a state ofemergency. After the blaze was contained, firemen remained on standby.
Fires were also reported to have broken out on Mt Pelion, which was ravagedby a huge blaze at the end of last month, as well as in Lamia, Amaliada andNafplion.
Meanwhile, the bodies of three seasonal firefighters who died in a huge blazeon Crete on Wednesday, were buried in state ceremonies. A fourth firefighter,who survived the fire, was transferred to an Athens hospital with serious burns.Two of the dead, Nikitas Koromilas, 34, and Iraklis Tzanakis, 40, died ofasphyxiation before they were burned, according to a coroner who identified themfrom dental records. Survivor Manolis Michalodimitrakis, 37, has burns on 55percent of his body.
A preliminary investigation was ordered into the circumstances surroundingthe seasonal workers expedition to the gorge near Rethymnon where the firestarted. The fire official who had been on duty on the day of the fire said hehad not ordered the workers to approach the gorge. But the president of thenational union of seasonal forest firefighters, Giorgos Pontikalis, wasunconvinced. Those who ordered those people to go down there should face upto their responsibilities, he said.