Fears for his life and career were revealed by expert witness Dimitris Leotsios during the sixth day of testimony at Athens’ three-man Mysteminer court, which is on trial for the deadly fire in Matti Attica in July 2018.
Asked by a prosecuting attorney if he was afraid after the threats he had received in the past, as if he himself was complaining, the witness replied: “Of course I am afraid, I was threatened for this, but this does not affect my judgment and my confession”.
The witness insisted that the fire broke out in the floor at 18:20 and the evacuation recommendation should have been given from 17:30 onwards. “The roads to the sea are at least 25. 850 meters from Marathon Avenue to the sea. The only difficult part is in Kokino Limanaki. Throughout the rest of the area, all roads lead to the sea. The average person’s distance to the sea is about 20 minutes. People volunteered and left in vehicles. At 18:00 the Mayor’s “With the briefing, people were relieved. People were not informed that the fire was moving towards the area,” said Mr. Leotsios said.
“Criminal”, he referred to, as the action was carried out by the then commander of YEMPS, Giorgos Portosoudis, who left his post when the fire reached Mati.
Witness: He probably didn’t know the fire coming down from Neo Woutcha.
B. Capernaros: He was informed by ESKE and a helicopter was requested. How is it possible that he disappeared and asked for a helicopter?
Witness: He should know because he is a commander. The command to the helicopter is sent to the air traffic controller.
The expert testified that his own investigation did not show that the firefighting helicopters were unable to deliver the drops that day.
“They didn’t seem to have a problem. Other than Ericsson, other helicopters have difficulty operating in populated areas. We got information that the fire was moving to the houses, we got information that it was moving to Neo Wautsa. It was reported that only nine fire engines were present and the fire was at the beginning. We have updated the smoke direction. An order had to be issued. “Man is not burned by fire, first he is poisoned by smoke and then burned,” he testified.
Regarding the issue of zoning, the witness said, “In terms of urban planning, specific areas (Nea Makri, Mati) are not arbitrarily mentioned in the forest plan of the Fire Department. Some sections, steep and winding, towards Kokino Limanaki and Gemberi, were some problematic sections. It doesn’t mean anything. The fire department is aware and taking action accordingly.
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