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Death toll from wildfire near Athens reaches 74

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The death toll from the deadliest wildfire which broke out in a small seaside resort near the Greek capital of Athens on Monday has increased to 74, authorities said Tuesday.

The wildfire to hit Greece in more than a decade has left the seaside town of Mati in ruins, with vehicles burnt to ashes, buildings left charred.

As a popular tourist destination, Mati sits 29 kilometers east of Athens in the Rafina region. Locals have been left utterly devastated by the extent of the tragedy.

"Look at that, look at the buildings, look at the trees. You can’t imagine. No words," said Yannis, a local resident.

Many people tried to escape the fire by driving away but ended up being trapped on the narrow streets and were engulfed by flames which were fanned by strong winds.

"Everybody was looking for a way to leave from the fire and then the fire stopped them here. The fire closed that way, the fire also closed that way. People did not know where to go, where to leave. Then they breath all the fire, all the smoke," said Yannis.

Some others rushed towards the shore as Mati’s streets were blocked by abandoned cars and fallen trees, but the rocky road prevented many victims from reaching safety.

"Many of them decided to try to reach the sea which is only one block further down. But they did not know that in many areas there are rocks, so they got trapped. The fire surrounded them. They had no way out," said Gina, a local journalist.

The fire has also scorched down a pine forest and decimated dozens of homes, according to the Fire Service.

The Greek Coast Guard have saved more than 70 people in Mati and are still combing that area to find other survivors.

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