THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — In a tragedy related to Greece's financial crisis, three children died in a northern village Saturday when a fire burned down the home of their grandparents, who were using a wooden stove because heating oil prices have soared, officials said.
The blaze started in the stove and quickly engulfed the house, whose roof collapsed on two of the victims, aged 5 and 7. The older brother, 15, tried to rescue his younger siblings and died of smoke inhalation, firefighters said.
The children's grandparents and parents, as well as three other siblings — two girls and a boy — escaped. The father sustained slight burns. The couple and the children were spending the weekend at the home in the village of Mesoropi, 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of Thessaloniki.
The fire threatened nearby houses, but firefighters extinguished it after about 45 minutes.
"They had oil heating. They put on a stove this year, as many other villagers did, because of the crisis. Things are very tight," said Vangelis Bozoudis, a resident of Mesoropi.
The price of heating oil has soared this year in Greece. Until last spring, heating oil was sold at a much lower price than diesel fuel, but, because a lot of heating oil was used illegally as diesel fuel to circumvent the higher price, the government decided to harmonize the prices.