Greek wildfire deaths blamed on arson as floods hit homes

Breaking Irish man missing in Greek wild fire confirmed dead

The devastating wildfire that killed at least 82 people in Greece was started deliberately, authorities have suggested.

"Brian was always at the forefront developing the organisation and providing vital services to hospitals", he said.

Earlier on Monday, Greek authorities urged residents of a coastal region west of Athens to abandon their homes as another wildfire burned ferociously, closing one of Greece's busiest motorways, halting train links and sending plumes of smoke over the capital.

Later in the day a Greek official told Skai TV the death toll exceeded 60 people. Another 23 children have been treated by medics and 11 of them were hospitalized.

Authorities were trying to evacuate inhabitants, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said.

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos told the BBC building by residents between wooded areas was a "crime" that had resulted in blocking escape routes.

Yet the Greek coast guard said it had no record of the girls' whereabouts or their condition, despite the names of those who disembarked rescue boats having been recorded.

Intense heat first caused what have been described as Greece's worst wild fires in over a decade to break out in the Attica region on Monday.

Video footage showed inhabitants fleeing the fires by auto, with several buildings and homes damaged, as the region of Attica - where Athens is situated - declared a state of emergency.

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"Greece is going through an unspeakable tragedy", Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said as he appeared on television to declare three days of national mourning.

At least five people died trying to escape the flames into the sea. "Of the homes for the kids, one of them was destroyed and another one was damaged", Kontakos said. "It happened very fast", Stavrinidis told the Associated Press of how the fire swept into his neighborhood. "The wind was indescribable, it was incredible".

He said: "Following my visit to Greece and my meeting with him and the presidents of Italy and Portugal, I am very conscious of the resilience of the Greek people, who should be assisted by all of us in these hard times". "You left us at God's mercy". "'When he came back he was screaming 'We need to go, quickly, get to the beach".

"The police tried to direct us away from the fire, but we couldn't escape it", said Aleka Papariga, a former Greek Communist Party leader who lives near Rafina.

AFP quoted officials who suspect that arson by house looters might have triggered the blazes.

"You can't see anything in the smoke and fire - so much fire and so much smoke...we could not breathe". They chose to swim, hoping someone would rescue them.

Cyprus and Spain offered assistance after Greece said it needed air and land assets from European Union partners. Mevlut Cavusoglu said his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias thanked him for the offer but said assistance was not now needed. Scenes of devastation and death were reported throughout the region.

The charred remains of 26 people, including small children, were found huddled together on early Tuesday morning near a steep cliff overlooking the jagged coast. There were people grabbing the auto, trying to get in.

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