Trial for the Eye: “Something came over me like sticks. They were corpses…”


The owner of the plot with the 26 dead testified – “It’s a lie that the residents were to blame” – People who were saved with severe burns and people who are grieving their losses also testified in court today

“It is wretched and vulgar to have an attack by the state on people who lost their family and all their property,” said the woman in anger at the trial for the Eye, whose property burned 26 people, referring to what had been heard “about trespassers” the day after the July 2018 tragedy.

THE owner of the so-called “horror estate”, Anastasia- Christiana Fragou, gave her own answer to what had been heard after the hundred dead from the fire in Eastern Attica:

“We were blamed all over Greece at a ministerial meeting the day after the fire for the loss of 26 people who were found charred on our property. They accused us of trespassers. The state has held all citizens hostage to a false treaty. My home was not arbitrary and neither I nor my family was a trespasser. Our plot does not have steps to the sea in the classic sense. They are steps carved (carved) by my grandfather into the rocks. It is impassable, it is a cliff. Those who were saved were saved from there, 40 people. Unfortunately, the 26 didn’t make it because a heat wave caught up with them,” Mrs. Fragou testified.

Charged, the witness concluded: “This story that the residents are supposedly arriving, is not true. It’s not the houses fault, there were passageways. There was no notification from anyone. We burned like mice. It is miserable and vulgar to have an attack by the state on people who lost their family and all their property.”

People who were saved with severe burns and people who are grieving losses also testified in court today.

THE Antonis Giannakodimos, who lost his father in the fire, angrily testified that that afternoon “we experienced absolute fear, impoverishment, humiliation, abandoned by everyone”. He added that “at a well-known TV station they said at 12.00 at night, ‘we probably have a dead person’.” Rather! This has marked me.”

As the witness mentioned, twice in the past residents in Mati had been warned to leave their homes during fires. But that time, five years ago, “there was no update” he said .

“Six o’clock I saw smoke, black, to the south-west. I go out and climb Marathon and I’m on fire at 50 meters. In a state of panic I return home, I notify my parents that there is a fire and we have to leave.. I get into the car with my family and from behind, there is my father in the car. I go down to the sea, in a state of panic. My father is trying to get into the car from behind. Unfortunately a tree falls and blocks the road vertically between my car and my father’s. I saw the back of his car catch fire, I saw him go to Marathon. There was no choice, I continued straight and must have entered the second-third car at the port of Mati, at 6:30. We stayed at the port until twelve midnight” recounted Mr. Giannakodimos.

THE Sumela Hatjilazaridou he testified in court crying that he stayed for six hours at sea: “There was no one with me. I was completely alone. I was told it was 10-12 Beaufort. I started swimming, in a stormy sea. Everything was black, I couldn’t see and there was absolute silence. Imagine a man, 65 years old, in a raging sea, nothing visible and in absolute silence. The hours passed. I turned to Panagia and said “if you want me to perish, perish, now otherwise show me the signs”. Not even five minutes passed and I hear voices of people, calling for help, 11-11:30, I don’t know exactly what time it was. There were six people. I didn’t know any of them. THE a girl was asking her mom if we were going to die and us as before she had lost her brother and one of their friends. The other girl had a panic attack and I picked her up and dragged her. I haven’t found her. At some point something like wood had come at me, so I thought. They were corpses. We started getting cold and cramping. I was the most optimistic, because I said we are so close to Athens! They can’t help but come to our rescue. But nothing, no one… Like no one notified us to leave.”

The witness described the moment when a boat finally approached them. “Not the Coast Guard that I was calling for. A fishing boat, gri-gri from Evia it was. We swam and arrived. They threw ropes at us. Suddenly other people appeared. A lady who went to go up was stopped. Then I got scared and told them I can’t go up and they told me that a boat will come. We boarded the fishing boat. There was a family down there, the girl who suffered the resistance had been put aside.”

As Mrs. Hatjilazaridou pointed out, “we have reached the point where our rescuers are Egyptian fishermen. They treated us with exceptional kindness, they treated us to wafers, of course no one ate, they gave us a phone call.” In a firm voice, the woman emphasized: “It wasn’t the roads, the passageways, the stairs that we didn’t have. It’s because no one came! It is true that we often had fires, but we had teams patrolling, they even brought an army once. Now no one notified anyone. If they had brought a duduka and a tricycle, the whole world would have heard it and left. We left, the others were sleeping, they said it will never catch here.”

The burn victim Dimitra Polymeropoulou, who stayed in hospital for three months, testified that she was saved because of a neighbor who picked her up with her son and grandchildren in her car and drove them to the beach. “As we are getting ready, I suddenly see my grandson around 6:30 and he says to me, ‘Grandma sparks.’ We didn’t have time to do anything, everything happened very quickly. It was a gloom, a mess, I lost it. The treatment was tragic.”

Her son, the witness, Giorgos Polymeropoulos, holding his head and unable to stop crying, said: “While we were leaving the house, we received a heat wave that covered everything that was burning. He found us on the back side. We couldn’t breathe.

I realized that things were difficult and we would not be able to walk. We couldn’t go straight on. I was getting ready to hug my kids and then I saw the neighbor. I begged her to drop us off at the beach. We went down to the sea… There we realized that my mother had been burned in many places and was not well. My mother did three surgerieswhen he was able to leave the hospital, he was a different person.”

The daughter of Mrs. Polymeropoulou, told the court that “the battle with the burns is terrible.” As Aikaterini Polymeropoulou testified, “their screams of pain were unimaginable. The screams of pain have been in my ears for five years now. I would also like to help with my testimony, so that not only those who left but also those who stayed who are struggling with their wounds will be vindicated.”


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