The tragedy behind… jobless family almost burned in home without electricity


A fire broke out in the home of a jobless family of four living without electricity for two years. The 5-year-old child of the family and the grandmother were taken to hospital due to respiratory problems, the parents have reportedly suffered minor burns. It is not clear whether the blaze was due to candles or a make-shift stove.

The fire broke out short after 4 o’clock on Thursday morning in Kordelio suburb of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece. The smoke apparently woke up the family that managed to get out of home in time, escaping the worst. Fire brigades managed to extinguish the fire, while all four residents were taken to the hospital. The home was almost completely destroyed.

Electricity box without power consumption counter…

The fire reportedly broke out either from a make-shift stove or from candles, because the house had no electricity for at least two years, according to a statement by the major of Evosmos. Efstahios Lazaridis who stressed that some 700 families in his area have similar problems with power cut due to economic difficulties.

Greek media report, that the family was in dire economic situation living on meals from the Church and municipality soup kitchens. The family with origins in former Sowjetunion had no other income except for the child allowance of 40 euro per month, the grandmother told reporters.

“My children woke me up and we got out of the home,” the grandmother said. she added that neither her son nor his wife had a job.

“They had food Monday to Friday, but on weekends they had nothing to eat,” the landlord  told media. The family had not pay the rent of 150 euro per month for the last two years, neither the water bill. “I could not pay for their electricity too, so I went to Power Company and had the power cut,” the landlord said.

Neighbors claim that the parents were drug addicted.

In the heat of frustration and anger, the father armed with a knife tried to attack journalists covering the news outside the burned home. The father was detained and charges are to be brought against him for violating the “weapons law”.

The municipality Social Welfare will offer shelter to the boy and the grandmother.

Evosmos major, Efstathios Lazaridis stressed that some 700 families in his area have similar problems with power cut due to economic difficulties.

Speaking to private Skai TV residents stressed the tragic circumstances for many families in Kordelio-Evosmos municipality with 100,000 people. Almost 50% were without job and in Evosmos 800 families were without electricity. (nonewsnewsblogspotzougla.gr, newsit.gr, protothema.gr, ).

The tragedy in Kordelio occurred a week after 13-year-old Sara died of carbon monoxide poisoning after her mother had made fire in a make-shift stove so they could warm in a home without electricity.

According to Fire Brigades records, 65 people lost their life 2008-2013 (January) in Greece due to “alternative heating means” like fireplace, heating-oil, wood and gas stoves or make-shift stoves.

Theater play writer Vaggelis Leivadas, 90, was burned to death in November 2011 when an electric heater was turned over.

Annual heating cost for apartment 90-100 sqm in Athens:

natural gas 1,000 euro

heating oil 1,600 euro

Stand December 2013

source: zougla.gr

considering as minimum heating period December-February, it’s difficult for jobless households to find extra 300 euro to heat their homes.

With exorbitant prices for heating oil and natural gas – prices 30-40% higher than in the rest of Europe – many households cannot afford safe heating means and do whatever they can in order to sit at home without freezing feet and running nose.

 

 

 

 

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