Alternate Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas sought to defend the response time of the fire brigade in the recent fires that burned parts of eastern Attica, noting that no state can intervene in any forest fire in less than 20 minutes.
“The first call was made at 16:16 and the first two vehicles arrived at 16:35 on the dot. The first helicopter took off at 16:39 and the second at 17:06. If we want a reaction in less than 20 minutes, then we will have to discuss about the means available to local government because no state can intervene in less than 20 minutes in a forest fire,” he told newspaper Documento in an article published on Sunday.
Toskas said the fire brigade’s available aircraft are old ‘some date from 1973 and some from 2000- and should have been replaced years ago.
“This cannot happen in our two years of government and in conditions of severe austerity. However, we repaired, maintained and utilized the 18 small aircraft for ‘initial attack’ on the fire, the Pezetel, which were abandoned and not used. We also recently received additional buckets from sponsors and we also used military helicopters” he added./IBNA