6 Convicted, 15 Cleared Over Response to Deadly 2018 Wildfire At Greece Resort

TOPSHOT - This photo taken on July 24, 2018 show cars burnt following a wildfire at the village of Mati, near Athens, on July 24, 2018. - Fifty people have died and 170 have been injured in wildfires ravaging woodland and villages in the Athens region, as Greek authorities rush to evacuate residents and tourists stranded on beaches along the coast on July 24, 2018. The death toll soared with a Red Cross official reporting the discovery of 26 bodies in the courtyard of a villa at the seaside resort of Mati. (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP via Getty Images)
This photo taken on July 24, 2018 show cars burnt following a wildfire at the village of Mati, near Athens, on July 24, 2018. (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
12:21 PM – Tuesday, April 30, 2024

An Athens court has convicted five former firefighting and disaster response officials, while clearing 15 others involved in wildfires that killed over 100 people at a Greek resort nearly six years ago. 


On July 23rd, 2018, the tragic fire engulfed the coastal town of Mati, located east of Athens, causing widespread devastation. The flames claimed the lives of residents, many of who were unable to flee and become trapped in their vehicles amidst the horrifying inferno.

Survivors of the devastating tragedy were in uproar when they found out others were fined and let go. 

The officials, which includes a former fire chief, received sentences between 15 and 111 years on multiple counts of criminal negligence resulting in injury and loss of life. However, the presiding judge ordered that the sentences could be served concurrently, which would cap jail time at five years. 

The folks that were let go were allowed to pay fines of up to 40,000 euros ($42,728.79 U.S. Dollars) each in lieu of serving their sentences. Meanwhile, under Greek law, payment can be deferred pending an appeal. 

Additionally, a sixth defendant, who was the owner of the property where the fire started, received a three-year sentence for the misdemeanor of involuntary arson and was also released. 

Irini Maroupa, one of the lawyers representing the victims, told reporters outside the courthouse that her clients were disappointed.

“All sense of shame has been lost,” she said. “The victims of this fire who died in horrific circumstances, and those injured who will suffer for the rest of their lives — and this was clearly illustrated in court — will never have the opportunity to find peace in their soul.” 

Furthermore, over 1,500 homes and structures were ruined, along with over 300 vehicles during the fire. 

The panel of three judges ruled that the evacuation response was coordinated improperly. 

The 15 firefighting officials, police, civil protection and local government officials were cleared of all misdemeanor charges, as Greek law bars the publication of their names. 

On Monday, all defendants denied any wrongdoing in the tragic fire incident. 

Stay informed! Receive breaking news blasts directly to your inbox for free. Subscribe here. https://www.oann.com/alerts

Share this post!