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Wildfire near Athens damages homes and forces residents to flee

Image: A firefighter tries to extinguish a wildfire burning near the village of Kalamos, north of Athens, Greece, August 13, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

Athens (Reuters) – A wildfire close to a village near Athens has damaged dozens of houses and caused people to flee their homes, officials said on Monday.

More than 150 firefighters with 50 fire engines and three water-dropping helicopters battled the blaze, which broke out in Kalamos, a coastal area some 45 km (30 miles) northeast of Athens.

A fire brigade official told Reuters that no injuries had been reported but at least a dozen houses were heavily damaged.

“It was a terrible mess, that’s what it was. You could see homes on fire, people running, people desperate, it was chaos and the fire was very big,” a resident of Kalamos village told Reuters TV.

Television footage showed hundreds of residents fleeing from the area and heading to the beach to spend the night.

Greek authorities ordered a precautionary evacuation of two youth camps in the area.

The cause of the fire was unknown, but summer wildfires are common in Greece. More than 70 died in 2007 during the worst fires in decades.

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas and Phoebe Fronista; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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