Greek Police Arrest Four Arson Suspects as Evia Fire Finally Contained

Four people suspected of arson were arrested across Greece on Thursday, as firefighters managed to contain the large fire in central Evia after battling against the flames for three entire days.

The Fire Service announced that two Greek citizens were detained in the southern and western Peloponnese peninsula and two foreign nationals were arrested on Chios Island.

According to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, the first suspect, a 52-year-old man, is accused of starting several fires in a forested area near the old Kalamata-Tripoli national highway and in dry vegetation near the old Tsakonas-Kalo Nero highway. Both locations are in Messinia.

The second man, aged 58, is believed to have started a blaze in the area of Paleovarvasena, in Ilia.

No details have emerged about the two foreign nationals arrested on Chios.

Greek firefighters on Evia, supported by reinforcements from other European countries, on Thursday managed to control the fire which threatened the villages which had been evacuated on Tuesday.

Efforts to contain the blaze were severely hampered by strong winds. The Fire Brigade and locals suspected arson as the cause of the conflagration.

Officers belonging to the Greek fire department’s special arson section (DAEE) have reportedly found objects used to set fires, including cloths, plastic parts of jerrycans and accumulated branches and other pieces of wood.

The Greek broadcaster SKAI said the DAEE is examining evidence showing that the blaze started in three different parts of the forest. So far, they have taken the testimonies of 25 witnesses.

Authorities have also spoken with three suspects who are residents in the area, as part of their ongoing investigation.

No casualties, serious injuries or extensive damage in residential areas have been reported, but a large part of a forest which was part of EU’s Natura network of protected areas has been burned according to authorities.