Down woman describes 'devastating' wildfires in Greece

Down Woman Describes 'Devastating' Wildfires In Greece
Bridget Davidson, from Bangor, was evacuated from the hotel with her husband as the fires spread their way through the town, as they had to leave their hotel and abandon their holiday and leave Greece.
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Vivienne Clarke

A woman from Co Down who was on holidays in Rhodes, Greece, has described the moment she and her husband had to evacuate the area due to wildfires.

Bridget Davidson, from Bangor, was evacuated from the hotel in which she was staying with her husband as the fires spread through the town, forcing them to abandon their holiday and leave Greece.


Ms Davidson told RTÉ's News at One that the situation quickly escalated as tourists were rushed to safety as the fires spread.

"There was a knock at the door to say we need to evacuate to get out onto the beach.

"So we made our way down to the beach, just with our passports and the clothes that we stood up in. And the hotel staff came down and gave us towels, told us to soak the towels and put them over our heads and I looked around, there was a lot of smoke.

"They told us to start walking and keep walking along the single beach, which we did for probably about two miles. A lot of other people, families, people walking as well with children, and we made our way out onto the road where the police stopped us and said you can't go any further.


"You have to get on a coach that we take them to the next village here. We knew then gathered that there was no hotels or anything, so we looked like we had to sleep on the street that night, which we started to do," she said.

"The fire was coming to get down onto the beach and there were folks coming for us, so we made our way down to the beach, waited and waited. The mums were coming in. There was so many people we couldn't get any of them. But eventually, at 2 am in the morning, we got onto a boat, sailed through the night to another port," she added.

Ms Davidson thanked the locals in Greece for their help as their holiday was turned to a nightmare, adding their hotel had been covered in ash.

"The locals were so kind. But then I thought, we're going to have to stay in this accommodation for us.


"So we moved into the town and found the one and only hotel and asked them for a room, and they said they were sold, but then the owner of the hotel came out and took a look, my husband and myself, and just said, you look exhausted.

"By that stage we were, and they gave us a room. [They] wouldn't take any money, gave us the word that we could go shower and sleep there the night.

"We were able then to go back to our hotel today to collect our belongings. And I actually went to have all that because it was just devastating. It was just the hotel that had been so fabulous was no more. It was covered in ash. The swimming pools were burned, the lifts were burnt."

Ms Davidson said there was "complete devastation" and "no accommodation to be had anywhere", adding the best thing for them to do was to go to the airport to try and get home, but there are no flights until Tuesday.


Greece is often hit by wildfires during the summer months, but climate change has led to more extreme heatwaves across southern Europe.

Flights are currently continuing in and out of Greece, with people advised to check with their travel agent before arriving into the country.

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