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Eight People Injured in Alcohol Distillery Explosion in Central Greece

Alcohol distillery explosion
Firetrucks responded to the scene of the explosion at an alcohol distillery. Credit: thessaliatv.gr

An explosion at an alcohol distillery near Larissa, central Greece, left at least eight people injured on Friday.

The employees who were near the still (distillation equipment) were first transported to the Tyrnavos Health Center before being transferred to Larissa Hospital. All eight individuals are being treated and their injuries are not considered life threatening.

Alcohol distillery explosion in Tyrnavos

The blast occurred at around 9 AM on Friday at the ouzo distillery. The fire department was quick to respond to the scene, arriving around 15 minutes after the explosion. By the time they arrived, the majority of the fire had been put out by employees using the company’s fire system and extinguishers.

“A small #fire was extinguished at a distillery in Tyrnavos, Thessalia. Twelve #firefighters were deployed with four firetrucks.”

The distillery had a modern fire protection system, reportedly worth €55,000 ($66,794), which likely helped suppress the fire.

The distillery has been operating in the current building since 2007, but the company itself has been family-owned since it was founded way back in 1857.

The eight injured employees are recovering from minor burns and respiratory issues including breathing problems. However, none of the people injured are considered to be in critical condition.

Ouzo distilled across Greece

The name “ouzo” is patented as an exclusively Greek alcoholic beverage since 1989, meaning that it can only be produced and named in Greece.

Some places with a long tradition in distilling ouzo are Tyrnavos, the site of Friday’s blast, and Kalamata. But the most popular of all is definitely the island of Lesvos with Plomari ouzo being extremely well-known.

Its production demands special skills; part of it is produced by distillation and a larger part is water flavored with various aromatic herbs, of which aniseed prevails. In Greece, ouzo is popular during lent (Sarakosti), and of course, throughout summer.

Literature scholars believe the name ouzo originated from the ancient Greek verb “to smell,” or “ozo.” However, romantics prefer to think it comes from the phrase “Ou zo,” or “Without this I can’t live.”

Others see its roots in the Turkish word for grape, “uzum,” and others say it can be traced back to a story about a Turkish consulate doctor in Thessaly in the 18th century who tasted the local raki and cried out, “But this is Uso di Marsiglia!”

The phrase, meaning “For use in Marseilles,” was at the time stamped on crates of silk worm cocoons exported from Thessaly to major merchants in the French port, which had become synonymous with any product of excellent quality.

Whatever its origin, it serves as a very welcome reminder, perhaps most of all this year, of the way summer should be.

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