GREECE: FIRES SWOOP DOWN ON SUBURBS OF GREATER ATHENS AROUND MOUNT PENDELI BURNING HOMES AND FORCING EVACUATIONS
- Title: GREECE: FIRES SWOOP DOWN ON SUBURBS OF GREATER ATHENS AROUND MOUNT PENDELI BURNING HOMES AND FORCING EVACUATIONS
- Date: 3rd August 1998
- Summary: PENDELI, GREECE (AUGUST 3, 1998) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 1. VARIOUS OF FLAMES BEHIND BUILDING OF CHILDRENS MEDICAL CENTRE (2 SHOTS) 0.14 2. VARIOUS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN BEING TAKEN OUT OF CENTRE, BEING PUT IN CARS AND COACHES (3 SHOTS) 0.32 3. GV'S FIRES ON HILLSIDE (3 SHOTS) 0.48 4. VARIOUS OF PENDELI HOSPITAL, PATIENTS BEING EVACUATED INTO AMBULANCES, INTO CARS, PEOPLE RUNNING FROM HOSPITAL (4 SHOTS) 1.16 5. SLV CARS ON ROAD, FIRE RAGING BEHIND 1.20 6. VARIOUS CARS AND PEOPLE GETTING AWAY, HOOTING (2 SHOTS) 1.36 7. SLV'S FIRE TRUCKS TENDING SCENE (2 SHOTS) 1.49 8. MV VAN BURNING 1.54 STAMATA, GREECE (AUGUST 3, 1998) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 9. VARIOUS MEN HOSING BURNING HOUSES (2 SHOTS) 2.06 10. VARIOUS HOUSES ON FIRE (2 SHOTS) 2.16 11. VARIOUS BLAZING HILLSIDE (2 SHOTS) 2.25 12. SV MAN WATCHING FIRE, WALKS AWAY 2.32 13. LV SCOOTER PASSES BURNING ROADSIDE 2.37 14. SV/MV RESIDENTS FIGHTING FLAMES WITH TWIGS (2 SHOTS) 2.48 15. LV HELICOPTER OVER FIRE 2.54 16. GV SUN THROUGH SMOKE HAZE 3.00 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Reuters ID: LVA1IT5NDQW51ZKTEWZ0AH3L4X3M
- Location: PENDELI AND STAMATA, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Duration: 00:03:02
- Story Text: Fires have swooped down on the suburbs of Greater Athens around Mount Pendeli, burning homes and forcing the evacuation of a monastery and hospital.
Flames leaping 20 metres (60 feet) high razed thousands of acres (hectares) of thick pine forest since the fire broke out on Sunday evening, burning at least four homes and damaging several others.
The Pendeli Hospital, the St Pandeleimon monastery and a centre for disabled children were evacuted as the blaze came dangerously close.
"It is certainly arson.The fire could not possibly start on its own in thick forest in the middle of the night," said Stamatis Kriemadis, the mayor of the village of Stamata, close to where the fire started.
The fire brigade closed off the Pendeli road, connecting Athens with its northern coastal resorts, and appealed to the public to avoid the area.The road was heavily congested with local residents fleeing by car and on foot.
People were frantically searching for relatives who were feared trapped behind the fire front, shouting out their names and begging firemen for help, said a Reuters photographer at the scene.
Police said only three fire engines, aided by local community water trucks, fire-fighting planes and volunteers were battling the blaze, which cast a dark brown cloud over the Greek capital.
"We had 13 fire engines trapped by flames and we just managed to free them," head of the Attica fire brigade Panayotis Fourlas told a Greek television station.
The Rapendossa village near Stamata was evacuated and was surrounded by flames.Fire-fighters also emptied the Pendeli state hospital and the PIKPA centre and summer camp for disabled children as a precaution.
The St Pandeleimon monastery was evacuated shortly before it was cut off by the fire.Some of the nuns were carried off by force after refusing to abandon it, police said.
Greece has been plagued by scores of forest fires, some around the Greek capital, where three firemen and a volunteer were burned to death in an effort to stop the blaze from reaching a busy Athens suburb last month.
On July 28 an Athens public prosecutor ordered an investigation into the spate of forest fires that have razed thousands of acres of land around the country this summer.
The investigation will focus on allegations that arsonists were setting the fires to make space for construction development and that the state's fire-fighting services were not operating properly.
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