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Greek Top Officials Deny Any Responsibility for Deadly Fire

Greece’s government spokesman, the citizen protection minister, the chiefs of police and the fire department denied any responsibility and offered no apologies for the inability to save lives in the East Attica catastrophic fires.
In a press conference late on Thursday night, the officials blamed the death of 84 citizens and the injury of hundreds to the unusually strong winds, the climate change, the bad town planning in Mati and, possibly, to the possibility of criminal arson
Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas said that his conscience tells him that he did nothing wrong and that he is in no way responsible for the huge losses in human lives and property. He said that if he had to face the same situation again, police and the fire department would operate the same way again.
Toskas said that police has evidence of arson, but did not explain further, nor did he present the evidence. He said that he tries to find what he did wrong, but does not find any mistakes in the way he handled the situation. He also said that he submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday, but the latter denied to accept it.
The Fire Department Chief Sotiris Terzoudis said that almost all of the national air fleet of the fire department participated in the operation to extinguish the fires and that the blaze destroyed everything in less than one and a half hours.
Terzoudis noted that when the fires broke out they spread very fast as the winds in Attica at the moment raged at 100-120 kilometers per hour.
Head of Hellenic Police, Konstantinos Tsoukalas, attributed the destruction to the “extreme weather and geomorphological conditions” and claimed that the wide front of the fire and the large number of holidaymakers increased the degree of difficulty to put out the fires and the work of the police.
Government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that it was impossible to evacuate a town of 15,000-20,000 in one and a half hours and that police and the fire department did a great job under difficult circumstances.
Tzanakopoulos also said that the prime minister has ordered all competent authorities to compile a complete file of the fires in East Attica in order to assess the situation and investigate the causes “so that no question remains unanswered” and the Greek people will be fully informed about what happened.
Upon completion, the government spokesman said, Tsipras ordered the file to be submitted to the judicial authorities.

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