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Greece: Video apparently shows arsonist in the act

A video recorded by a local resident and shown on a Greek TV station Thursday appears to show a man setting a fire, while a major fire northeast of Athens was still in progress.

In the video, taken shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday, a young man, dressed in black is shown rapidly crossing a two-lane road. On that side of a road is an open space with olive and pine trees and covered with dried grass.

The man gets beside an olive tree, somewhat apart from other trees, but with grass on all sides. The man bends down, then crosses back fast to the side of the road where he came from; a few seconds later, flames shoot up.

“He stopped his car, got out and opened his trunk. He drew my attention. We were awake; the fire was burning above us…I lose him for a second. Then, I see heam leaving and, a few seconds later, flames shoot up,” a witness told private TV station Alpha.

Despite the early hour – 5.56 a.m. According to the video – it was daylight and people in the neighborhood were open, because the big Penteli fight that broke out Tuesday was still burning down the slopes of Mt. Penteli to their north, at some distance. But, with the high northerly winds blowing, people in the neighborhood were concerned; many had not slept all night.

The man was seen by several people, one of whom took the video. Some rushed to the site of the fire with extinguishers to put it out. In the end, the fire did not spread.

“I saw what he was doing and for a moment wanted to confront him,” another witness said. “But, seeing the flames, I immediately grabbed the extinguisher and ran. The wind was so strong, it was a matter of seconds before the fire spread, as it was doing two kilometers away from us,” he added.

At that moment, hundreds of firefighters were trying to contain the fire to the north and it would take some time for some of them to get to the spot. According to the weather service, wind gusts were reaching 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour at the time.

Police are examinig the video for clues.