After a month of intense fires throughout Portugal, a 41-year-old fireman has died.
José Moreira – a fireman for almost 20 years – was critically injured on Wednesday as he and another colleague raced to fight a fire in a rural area near Cascais.
Their engine catapulted off the road, landing on its roof.
Father-of-two Moreira and 31-year-old Hugo Guerreiro were admitted to separate hospitals – both described as gravely injured – but early yesterday morning came the news that Moreira had not survived.
This first death of a firefighter in 2015 – particularly after such a difficult summer – has plunged fire stations up and down the country into mourning.
The national firemen’s league has said Moreira’s death will be commemorated throughout Portugal, while the Mayor of Cascais Carlos Carreiras has declared a three-day period of municipal mourning.
Moreira’s colleagues have been describing the man whom they trusted 100%.
“He was the kind of man you wanted by your side when things got complicated. In the worst moments, he always had a smile or something to say to keep our spirits up, and this is the way in which we will remember him,” an emotional José Cardoso told reporters.
Moreira, the son and brother of firemen, was attached to Carcavelos and São Domingos de Rana fire station, where commander Paulo Santos explained that no matter how hard firefighters’ jobs may be, they are never prepared for the death of a colleague.
As funeral arrangements go ahead, the country’s battle against fire in a period where 80% of the country is a tinderbox continues.
Yesterday, 140 fires were reported, with one in São Pedro do Sul, Viseu, started by youngsters having an outdoor barbecue.