Public ministry investigators have named the first official suspect in the inquiry into the fire of Pedrógão Grande in June, where 65 people lost their lives (and one more has since died in hospital).
Mário Cerol is the second in command at Leiria district emergency command and was the third in command on that terrible day in June when a wildfire went horrifically out of control.
According to Público, he “commanded the fire during critical hours”, only being substituted by the ‘second-in-command’ Albino Tavares at 10pm on 17th, after the highest death toll in a single fire in Portugal’s living memory.
The paper adds that it is unclear whether Cerol will be the only ‘arguido’, but that he was officially made a formal suspect “without having been heard by the Public Ministry”.
At this stage, there is no official word on what kind of charges could be involved.
Early on in this investigation, media sources suggested accusations could involve negligent homicide (click here).
As an ‘arguido’, Cerol has told TSF radio that he cannot supply any further details on the case.
Second official suspect named: “respected” Pedrógão Grande firechief Augusto Arnaut.
Says Público, at issue are suspicions of the crimes of negligent homicide and physical injury, again caused through negligence.
Further names are expected to be announced either later today, or in the near future.