Parliament remembers victims of devastating Mati fires

Greek Parliament observed a minute’s silence at the opening of the plenary session on Friday, in memory of 102 people who lost their lives at the devastating fire in Mati, east Attica, on July 23, 2018.

The fire, which started on the Penteli mountain, spread very quickly to the seaside towns of Mati and Kokkino Limanaki, east of Athens, killing 102 people.

Authorities said illegal building was partly to blame for the scale of the damage. Some residents had built houses between wooded areas that effectively cut off escape routes.

One group of 26 people, adults and children, died locked in an embrace, after they were surrounded by the flames and ran towards the sea, but found themselves trapped near the top of a cliff.

Survivors were able to jump off the lower parts of the cliffs or rush into the sea from the beach, swimming further from the shore to escape the smoke. Many were rescued by fishing boats, but some ended up disoriented and drowned.