Apokoronas burns as strong winds fan flames – no casualties reported

Smoke over Apokoronas seen from Fre - Les Higham

A fire that was said to have started near the National Road in Agios Fanourios around mid-day yesterday has destroyed large areas of woodland, cultivations and grazing areas in Apokoronas. The fire reached the outskirts of the villages of Vrises, Nippos, Metochi and Kalamitsi.

30 fire engines, with crews from Rethymnon, Chania and Apokoronas battled with the flames all night while at daybreak the two fire helicopters resumed action to assist the ground crews.

Photos and video – Parakritika.gr

There was damage to the road, electricity and water distribution networks, with workmen working side by side with the firefighters,  trying frantically to restore supplies. The national road was closed for about five hours in both directions with traffic being diverted through the villages. It reopened just after 8 pm.

Apokoronas mayor Charalambos Koukianakis speaking to local media said the fire has caused untold damage and that there are indications that it was started deliberately.

The fire destroyed a couple of unfinished buildings in the outskirts of Vrises, and four people were taken to the hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

The fire is subsiding this morning with the strong winds dying out, but according to fire officers is not yet fully under control as there are many hotspots rekindling the fire along the 15-kilometre fire front.