Mayor of Kithira island Efstratios Harhalakis filed a suit on Tuesday against every person responsible during the fire that broke out on the island in 2017, linking the lack of firefighting airplanes to evidence surfacing on the devastating fire at Mati a year later.
The mayor initiated his suit after media reports of recorded mobile phone conversations revealing that internal competition in the service had prevented the use of water-dropping airplanes from helping put out the fire in Kithira. Reports said that the allegation was made by then fire chief Vassilis Mattheopoulos to fire inspector Dimitris Liotsios, who was asked this spring to draw a report on the Mati fire of 2018.
As the island mayor described it to Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), the suit will lead to an investigation into whether air assistance in the fires of Kithira and Mani, off and in southern Peloponnese respectively, was purposely withheld, "following personal conflicts in the leadership of the Fire Brigade."
"In our suit we mention the real events that happened, and it is true that help by air was mismanaged; this is something all Kithira residents have testified, and we have included it in writing," he added.