Rhodes fires ’caused by human hands’ as island blaze sees 16,000 evacuated

A police investigation has been launched into the horrific wildfires in Rhodes, Greece, with officials already suspecting that sick arsonists are the ones to blame.

The Rhodes fire is one of many to hit the country as it battles a scorching 40C heatwave, leaving hundreds of Brits stranded.

Since the blaze started six days ago, local firefighters have struggled to control it and winds are blasting it towards popular resorts.

READ MORE: 'Rhodes looks like volcano exploding – I'm too scared to sleep in case fire reaches us'

Thousands of people have been evacuated by boat, with UK travel companies Jet2 and TUI cancelling all flights into the country earlier today until July 30.

And now it is being claimed by top officials in the area that the fires were actually man made.

Vassilis Vathrakogiannis, a representative from the Rhodes Fire Department told local news outlets: “Fires are set by human hands.

“Whether it is due to negligence or fraud will be seen (but) people have been summoned for statements and others will be summoned.

“As soon as we have complete information – because the investigation is in full swing, we will make announcements.”

No arrests have been made thus far but a preliminary investigation has been carried out with “indications” pointing to it being arson.

  • Brits fleeing inferno-hit Rhodes hotels 'lucky to be alive' and leaving bags behind

Local police said that 16,000 people were evacuated by land and 3,000 by sea from 12 villages and several hotels.

Six people were briefly hospitalized with respiratory problems and were later released, and a person who fell and broke their leg during a hotel evacuation and a pregnant woman remain hospitalized.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Civil Protection said it was “the largest evacuation from a wildfire in the country.”

As of yesterday, around around 266 emergency service personnel were tackling the blaze, with the army also being brought in to help.

  • 'I spent holiday from hell in s***hole "Greek Butlin's" with blood on the walls'

Ten firefighting planes, including two from France, two from Turkey and one from Croatia, are operating in the area, as well as eight helicopters.

So far, no deaths have been reported by officials, but a rescue operation is still continuing.

The UK Government has issued a statement on the situation saying: "If you are a British national affected by wildfires in Rhodes, please follow the guidance from the emergency services. Call the Greek Emergency Services on 112 if you are in immediate danger."

For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.

Source: Read Full Article