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Greek wildfires concern locals

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WILMINGTON -- Those wild fires ravaging southern Greece have drawn worldwide attention and concern. Members of Wilmington's Greek community have ties to areas not far from where fires are burning. As everyone anticipates the path the fires will take, people here with family in Greece can only wait. Basile Katsikis has family in Greece. He returned to the states two weeks ago after spending time at a home he owns in Tripoli. Katsikis said, "It was absolutely terrible, and you knew something was going to happen like this because it was so dry." His family his fine but he's still concerned about the possibility of the fires spreading. Katsikis said, "We're all upset, we're all calling our relatives, 'Are you OK? What's going on?'" Father John Stavropoulos is the head of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Wilmington. He's trying his best to assure his parishioners their relatives will be OK. Stavropoulos said, "We're doing everything as a church in this country to sent aid, material, physical aid, financial aid, to assist people who lost homes, businesses, live stocks, whole lives, gone up in smoke." A number of his parishioners were recently in Greece. "They have not been in areas immediately in the fire. They've been near the areas and have seen devastation and they can tell me it's almost as if a nuclear bomb was dropped on Greece," Stavropoulos said. Some members of Wilmington's Greek community say wildfires have devastated parts of the country in the past, but they say this much destruction was unexpected. Katsikis said, "We're all taken back because this is unprecedented. We've never seen this type of situation with fires like this." Father Stavropoulos says the church plans to collect money to help send firefighters to Greece, something many European countries have already done.

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