Man Charged With Arson Near Ancient Olympia Site

(Photo by MotionTeam/Kostas Papadopoulos, File)

With Greek officials probing the July 23 wildfires that led to the deaths of 98 people in the seaside village of Mati, police arrested a 44-year-old man suspected of setting multiple fires near the revered ancient site of Olympia, site of the original Olympic games and one of the most famous archaeological spots in the world.

The fire service didn’t identify the suspect, common in Greece, but said he was charged with setting three fires in land plots in the areas of Vasilaki, Louvro and Kamena between Aug. 21-Sept. 1. It wasn’t said how he was caught.

The fire service said the suspect was to appear before a prosecutor in the town of Pyrgos on Sept. 3 to face charges.

The site was threatened in massive fires in August, 2007, that had been the country’s worst until this year, and which covered huge swathes of the Peloponnese.

A large wall of flames got to the edge of the village of Ancient Olympia, which stands near the 2,800-year-old site itself. Some trees at the sprawling site burned, but that the museum and other monuments weren’t affected although a woman’s body was found nearby.