“Insulting” attempt by Portuguese State to reduce compensation for young firefighter’s death falls flat

Attempts by the Portuguese State to wriggle out of a compensation award to the heartbroken family of a young firefighter asphyxiated by the fumes of a faulty generator over 14 years ago has fallen flat.

After tireless battling, and huge personal suffering, the family of 29-year-old Viviana Dionísio have heard the Central Administrative Court of the South reject the Public Ministry’s attempt to appeal the award for €200,000 in compensation, set by judges back in 2017 (click here).

A local newspaper reporting on the development has called the State’s tactics through this desperately sad process “insulting”.

Said the prosecution, the State basically “tested the resistance of the plaintiffs, making them wait; expecting them to die, one by one. Expecting them to reach the point of despair where they gave up”.

In the impossibly sad years since their daughter died taking some well-earned rest after a 40-hour stint during forest fires in the Serra de Aire e Candeeiros, the father has himself passed away, and the mother is described as “physically and psychologically affected, visiting the cemetery every day where her daughter is buried”.

Said the judges, this was a case of a young person with her whole life ahead of her deprived of that life due to a faulty generator (which allowed carbon monoxide to accumulate inside a communications vehicle where Viviana was sleeping).

State prosecutors even tried to get the blame shifted to the company that supplied the generator – and the fitters who attached it to the communications vehicle. But, according to a report today, the court’s consideration has been that this is the kind of situation that should have been covered by insurance.

Thus, the award for €200,000 in compensation, to be shared between the dead woman’s family members, stays in place – and hopefully this will now be an end to the family’s miserable fight for compensation.

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