Two firefighters are battling for their lives in hospital following a major blaze in Castro Verde (Alentejo) which began late on Monday afternoon.
One, believed to be in his 40s, suffered 95% burns to his body, including burns to his airways.
The other, described as aged 29 – from the same fire station of Cuba – suffered 50% burns to his body.
Both are in hospital in Lisbon now, having been airlifted straight from the blaze.
Three other colleagues from different fire stations were reported as suffering from smoke inhalation. None required hospital treatment.
The Castro Verde fire was one of three that broke out in different parts of the country yesterday as temperatures hovered in the low 40ºs.
Shortly after it began the alert went out in Castelo de Paiva over a blaze at an industrial complex, which ended up sweeping through eight separate businesses, employing as many as 500 people.
There were no injuries, but the businesses were all ‘destroyed’, say reports – which point to the 500 workers being almost certainly out of their jobs for the immediate future.
Again at roughly the time, a third fire broke out in Abrantes, in the central ‘media Tejo’ area, in an area of scrubland close to houses.
The fire was still being brought under control last night.
The general public’s ability to follow fires online has been impossible for the last week as the Civil Protection site is ‘down’ and ‘Fogos.pt’ which takes its data from the site is correspondingly unable to function. There has been no indication when the situation will change.
The last few days have been dramatic in terms of injuries to firefighters. On Sunday, an experienced fire chief died in what, by all accounts, should have been a ‘simple fire’ in terms of combat (click here), and now these latest tragedies.
Updates to follow.