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Victims’ families file first lawsuit against all responsible for Athens fires tragedy

Two families who lost relatives in the Athens wildfires filed lawsuits at the First Instance Prosecutor’s Office in Athens on Wednesday morning. The families demand the persecution of all responsible for the loss of their beloved ones: a 70-year-old father and husband and a 74-year-old mother. The testimonies how the two people lost their lives are shattering The charges are for felony offenses..

In particular, the lawsuit is directed against the General Secretary of Civil Protection, Yannis Kapakis, Attica Regional Governor, Rina of Dourou, Marathon Mayor, Ilias Psinakis, Officers of the Civil Protection Offices in Attica Region and the Municipality of Marathon, officers of the Fire Service in charge of of the region of Eastern Attica, officers of the Greek Police responsible  for the East Attica region as well as against all those responsible for the tragic events.

The lawsuit was filed by lawyer Antonis Foussas, who represents three relatives of two families. The lawsuit was filed by the wife and the daughter of one of the victims and the descendant of the second victim.

With the lawsuit the victims’ relatives call for the prosecution of all those responsible for the offenses of  repeated counts of exposure to danger,homicide by negligence, of forest arson by negligence, of bodily harm and other offenses that may arise form the investigation.

Among others, the lawsuit states that “for this biblical disaster in total, as of course for the two of our own people, there are certainly huge criminal (and other) responsibilities of the competent and responsible government officials and bodies assigned with crisis management such as fires, earthquakes, floods etc.”

Although there is investigation by the country’s top Supreme Court (Areios Pagos), “we file our own lawsuit in order to secure our legal rights.”

The lawsuit describes the tragic story of the case in which the two people lost their lives.

One of the dead had had his daughter married two days before the wildfire. Following the wedding on Saturday, the bride’s family stayed in their country home in Neos Voutzas over the weekend and also on Monday when the wildfire broke out.

Dead in the lethal fire is also a 74-year-old woman, also a retired teacher, who was tenant in the family’s home.

At the time of the fire there were six adults in the two-store house: the bride’s parents, three guests form abroad and the tenant in the apartment on the ground floor.

In the lawsuit the relatives testify that “neither before nor during the fire were we informed by officers of the Fire Service, the Municipality, the Police or the Regional government what to do in case of fire, which roads we should follow to reach a safe ares either at the beach or the sports facility nearby.”

The 73-year-old wife of the dead describes how the flames and the smoke surrounded the house and they decided to evacuate to avoid the worst. The woman left the house in a car together with the three guests to bring them to the beach of Mati which she considered as a safe area. the left the house around 6 o’ clock in the afternoon.

Three minutes after they left the house, the husband called his wife telling her that due to the power outrage he could not open the garage door and leave the area with the car. the wife decided to return and help her husband but did not manage to reach the house in time. “with with the help of a volunteer I reached the house some time later, but neither her husband not the tenant were around.

The two bodies were found 300-400 meters away from the family home the next day, when the smog-loaded atmosphere was cleared.

The fire started minutes before 5 o’ clock on 23. July 2018 on Penteli Mountain and quickly spread to the settlements of Neos Voutzas and Mati due to the very strong blowing wind. More than 90 people are believed to have died in the Athens wildfire. More than 180 were injured, ten are hospitalized in incentive care units still ten days after the unprecedented tragedy.

read also: Preliminary Conclusions about the tragedy in Athens Wildfires by the Athens University.

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