Leaving the town hall after meeting with Mr. Bournous, she said that beyond all the loss of life, the damage to property was enormous and that she had told the mayor that her private foundation would send computers, expertise and the gas that her husband’s company produced. Flanked by representatives from the American Embassy and Greek diaspora groups, she said, “We will do whatever they need.”

But the first priority remained accounting for all the missing.

Vasilios Andriopoulos, who is running the rescue operations for the Red Cross, said his crew had discovered the 26 people in Mati who died only yards from the sea. They were clustered in groups or four or five, usually around a child. “Families,” he said.

He said the crew members were now looking into the disappearance of 9-year-old twin girls who had been rescued in Rafina and whose possible abduction had seized Greece’s attention. But he said their main focus would be to search the destroyed homes in the area, as many as 2,500, and to locate the many missing people who are feared to be dead.

Arion Zikes, a 30-year-old nurse volunteering with the Red Cross, said, “Sometimes it’s difficult to see the people; they look like charcoal.”

In Rafina, Twafik Halil, 42, recalled how fast the fire had come, obscuring the sky and sea and keeping his fellow Egyptian fishermen in the port until the police asked for their help in the search effort. He said that they had picked up scores of survivors, and that he had poured water in the eyes and mouths of exhausted people who came to the port by the hundreds.

Some of those survivors slowly returned to their houses to survey the damage and try to put things back together.

Alexandros Prokopiou, 72, returned to Mati to inspect his house. It was damaged, but his 1965 Simca sedan was now an ashen mass of metal.

“It was white,” his wife, Magdalini Prokopiou, 65, said of the car. “Like sugar.” Mr. Prokopiou poked the bare springs of the seats with a car jack. “It was a beautiful car,” he said. “It was.”

Orignially published in NYT.

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