The delay in paying fireman Giorgos Siambtanis, the lone survivor of the accident which killed two of his colleagues when their fire truck overturned as they were fighting the recent Solea fire, has been attributed to a bureaucratic holdup.
Following Phileleftheros’ report on Thursday that father-of-four Siambtanis (pictured) has not been paid for two months, and has been covering expenses through donations raise by his colleagues, the Social Insurance Service informed him that he would be paid within the next few days.
Forestry Department Director Takis Tsintides, commenting on the holdup admitted that the delay in paying sickness benefits had put the public service in bad light.
Despite efforts on behalf of the Forestry Department which, according to Tsintides, did everything according to procedure to ensure that there was no delay in the payments being made, and the intervention of Agriculture Minister, Nicos Kouyialis to ensure that there were no delays, bureaucracy could not be beaten, he said.
Tsantides also stated that Siambtanis’ job was waiting for him once he had fully recovered, saying that although his place within the Department is secure, it is up to the doctors to decide what kind of work he will be able to perform.
Siambtanis, 51, has been released from hospital but is still recovering from home after a fire truck he and two others had been travelling in went off a road and overturned while they were battling the recent forest fires in Solea.
The Labour Inspection Department, police and Forestry Department are all carrying out their own investigations into the accident that saw Marios Aristotelous and Andreas Sophocleous lose their lives when the fire engine they were travelling in overturned into a ravine.