Rescue crews search for missing in Greek wildfires; 79 dead 

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An aerial view shows dammage caused by a wildfire near the village of Mati, near Athens, on July 24, 2018

SAVAS KARMANIOLAS/AFP/Getty Images

An aerial view shows dammage caused by a wildfire near the village of Mati, near Athens, on July 24, 2018

Kiriazova said they doused their house in the Mati area near Rafina with water from a garden hose, and credited the fact that their window frames were metal instead of wood for their home being spared.

“We shut ourselves in the house, we closed the shutters, we had towels over our faces,” she told The Associated Press. “The inferno lasted about an hour. I have no words to describe what we lived through.”

Her 65-year-old husband, Theodoros Christopoulos, said the couple decided to take shelter in their home because the narrow roads outside were jammed with cars.

“There was a great panic because the whole street was blocked by cars,” Christopoulos said. “Shouting, hysteria, they could see the fire was coming with the wind. It already smelled a lot, the sky was black overhead and in no time at all the fire was here.”

Hundreds of others abandoned cars and fled to nearby beaches, from where they were evacuated hours later by coast guard and private boats. Dozens swam out to sea despite rough weather to escape the intense heat and choking smoke blanketing the area.

With the number of missing unclear, authorities appealed for people to call them if they were searching for loved ones. Some people also turned to Greek television and radio stations, asking for information from the public for relatives they hadn’t heard from since the blaze.

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