Yesterday he was being hailed a hero by national media for saving his children but today he lies dead in a hospital mortuary.
João Oliveira, 43, is the first fatality of the ferocious blast that swept through his family’s home in Espinho, Braga, on Tuesday morning.
Doctors now are hoping his wife Sandra, 38, and children Gino and Pedro (aged eight and 14) pull through – despite all of them suffering serious burns.
The terrible explosion took place early, as the children still lay sleeping in their beds.
Their mother is understood to have been in the kitchen preparing breakfast when the stove “suddenly exploded”.
At first, investigators presumed a gas ring had been “left badly closed all night, releasing gas” but today newspapers report that PJ police are investigating the possibility that crime may have been involved in some way.
For now, all that is certain is that Sandra is fighting for her life in Porto’s Hospital de São João, with 80% burns to her body.
The mother-of-two was able to escape her home on foot, as her seriously injured husband gathered up the couple’s children – both apparently badly burnt, but not as seriously as either parent.
The next days will be crucial as João Oliveira’s funeral is scheduled to go ahead at 6.30pm this evening.