Ioannis Zafeiropoulos, along with other firemen, were rescuing children and teachers from a kindergarten.
At the school, the small firefighting vehicle which was driven by Zafeiropoulos, became trapped in a flooded storm drain.
According to the deputy regional governor of the Evros region, Dimitris Petrovits, the 46-year-old firefighter was able to exit the vehicle but was swept away by fast-flowing water.
The firefighters’s body was retrieved later in an area near Alexandroupolis’ Dimokritos Airport.
The evacuees were safety relocated.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his condolences on the death of Zafeiropoulos.
“We are filled with sadness from the death of the firefighter who perished in his attempt to help students in danger. All our thoughts are with his family, who will be supported by the state. I express my gratitude and my sincere condolences,” he posted.
Katerina Sakellaropoulou, President of the Hellenic Republic also posted a message on Twitter: “I express my deep sorrow for the unjust loss of the Chief Firefighter Ioannis Zafeiropoulos during the rescue operation of students in Apalos Evros. The debt of our country to its heroes is great. Warm condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Due to the high level of the water and continued rain, the roads were deemed unsafe for use by cars.
Acute problems were also reported in the Soufli municipality, with damage to homes and businesses, while the situation was considered manageable in Didymotichos and Orestiada.