Portuguese citizen António Marques has been hailed a hero after he braved smoke and flames in a neighbouring apartment block in Torre, Almancil, to rescue two elderly women aged 53 and 80.
”I saw flames and hurried out of my apartment and realised they were in danger,” 41-year-old António told Correio da Manhã newspaper.
“I didn’t think twice. I went in to see what was happening. Inside, I couldn’tsee anything because of the smoke. I closed my eyes and felt my way by touch along the walls and came upon one of the women on the floor. I picked her up and carried her out but remembered there was another woman living there because I had done some small jobs in the neighbourhood.”
After taking the first woman to the safety of the street, António returned to look for the second woman and also tried to extinguish the fire, which had been started at around 10pm by a candle and had spread through almost the whole apartment.
A rapid response by the firefighting service of Loulé prevented further danger to adjoining properties. Three fire engines were employed in quelling the flames and the operation took until3.30am.
It was revealed that the two rescued women, said to be in poor health, had been taken by surprise when the fire broke out and were unable to leave their apartment on foot. Family relatives have provided accommodation for the women.