In responsibilities specific defendants, from the position and responsibility that everyone had when the fire swept through Mati, leaving behind a hundred dead, the technical adviser to the victims of the fire, Deputy General of the Fire Department, Andrianos Gourbatsis, mentioned during today’s (Friday) second day of his testimony.

The witness, answering questions from advocates of the victims, referred to specific persons who, according to their share of responsibility, were either inactive or did not react in the appropriate way on the afternoon of July 23, 2018, when the fire at Dau Pentelis was not dealt with immediately.

The position formulated by the witness, corresponding with the one also held by the expert of the Prosecutor’s Office, Dimitris Liotsios, is that the situation had to be assessed and an order given for the preventive evacuation of citizens, before 17.30 when the fire had not yet split into two fronts.

Responding to a relevant question from an advocate in support of the Class, Mr. Gourbatsis cited two cases of evacuations, the first in California, USA, a few months after Mati, and the second in Psachna, Evia, in August 2019, when approximately 300 villagers were evacuated by bus. headed by the Fire Department at the time, the accused Vassilis Matthaiopoulos. Referring to the accused who was the deputy head of operations in the fire in Mati, the victim’s expert said that “Mr. Matthaiopoulos was not a bearer of orders, but from his position he had to give orders”. He also referred to the then commander of the ESKE Yannis Fostieris saying that “he should have immediately mobilized the mechanism of 199” He also stated that “The first concern of the fire department is the rescuing people and then putting out the fire or at the same time. The world was not saved here..”

The witness reiterated that the fire brigade had to react immediately to Dau Pentelis to contain the fire, and pointed out that “I believe that the risk was not properly assessed and there was a lack of mobilization of air and ground forces”. He also said that no airports were closed due to weather that day and that air assets were available to be used to fight the fire.

Answering a question about the actions of the accused, then Mayor of Pentelis Dimitris – Stergiou Kapsalis, the Lieutenant General said that he was late in notifying about the fire, and stated that the accused “is rumored to be best man with the resident of the area and also accused in the case in which the start of the fire is attributed.” The witness said that probably for this reason “there was a delay in informing the mayor of Pentelis about the fire. He mobilized his own vehicles first. He never called the fire department, no such phone call appears in the records… After 5 o’clock he called and informed Mr. Toska”. He also added that the streams had not been cleaned in the Municipality.

In response to a question about the accused mayor of Rafina – Pikermio, Evangelos Bournos, Mr. Gourbatsis said: “I heard him who gave an interview and said that the fire is heading towards Dionysos, north and that it will not go to Mati. How could he decide on an organized evacuation after he had a different perception of the direction of the fire?”

The witness testified that for what happened in Mati no Sworn Administrative Examination was ever ordered, and that in general no fire has ever been investigated.

“Because in this case the leader was involved, Mr. Toskas or Mrs. Gerovasili could order an investigation by the Inspector General of Public Administration. I made a report to Mrs. Gerovasilis how research should be done. It didn’t happen,” he said.

The testimony of the expert continues on Monday, April 24.