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Death Toll in Greek Fires Rises to 91, 25 Missing


Orthodox faithful attend a memorial service for the victims of a forest fire, inside a church at Mati village, east of Athens, July 29, 2018.

Greece began over the weekend to begin burying the victims of the deadly wildfire that raged through crowded resort areas east of Athens last week.

Fire officials raised the death toll to 91 and said 25 people remained missing on Sunday, after last Monday's fire raced through the area.

Hundreds attended a memorial service Sunday in Mati, a popular resort village hardest hit by the fire.

The local Orthodox Church official, Bishop Kyrillos, presided over the service.

"There's fewer of us now than usually,'' Kyrillos said. "It is the victims of the recent fire that are missing -- friends, relatives and acquaintances, next-door people that we saw every day in town and on the beach.''

Fire officials said most of the victims died in the fire, but some drowned in the sea while trying to flee the blaze.

Greek authorities said the fire was the result of arson. It spread quickly because of dry conditions and winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.

A database maintained by the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters in Brussels shows this was the deadliest wildfire in Europe since 1900.

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