ATHENS – Two men were arrested on charges of negligent arson after electrical work they were doing caused a short circuit that started a wildfire that burned for three days and threatened a new luxury hotel on the Peloponnese.
They were not identified but were facing charges under a new law that goes after arson by negligence, which authorities said was the cause of July 23, 2018 wildfires that killed 103 people and devastated the seaside village of Mati about 24.8 miles northeast of Athens.
The fire they started tore through trees and came within a few feet of the Amanzoe Hotel in the resort town of Kranidi, in Argolida, video showing firefighters frantically trying to save the hotel.
The fire broke out on July 4 and spread quickly due to strong winds, forcing the evacuation of the hotel, whose officials said there was some damage but not as much as first feared.
The British newspaper The Daily Mail noted the the luxury hotel was a favorite of celebrities who like to get away from it all in plush surroundings near the sea, at prices around $1800 a night.
The video, the paper said, showed fire crews and local ground forces fighting a wall of flames on the boundary of the pool area, above the beach club after guests had been evacuated several hours before, including by boat.
Laird Landmann, who works for a California-based asset management firm, posted an image looking back on the resort from the ocean as he fled – writing: “My hotel the Amanzoe is burning down! Seems like everyone got out safe.”
Miltos Kambourides, who part-owns the resort, also posted about the fire on social media, writing: “All under control after a threatening forest fire that lasted the entire night. No one was harmed and the material damage was contained,” limiting the extent.
The site Luxury Travel Advisor wrote that hotel officials said, “We are relieved to report that all main areas of the hotel have been preserved, with exterior damage to just a limited number of pavilions, while all villas remain intact. Sections of the surrounding landscape have been impacted. Amanzoe has suspended operations until further assessment is made.”