Suspicions of arson after two fires in same building leave man ‘carbonised’

A ‘sitting tenant’ in a building within Porto’s ‘highly sought after’ area for tourist rentals has been discovered ‘carbonised’ after the second fire in a two-week period.

Neighbours fear 55-year-old António Gonçalves was a victim of ‘aggressive property speculation’, say reports.

Police will be investigating the possibility of arson but due to high temperatures remaining at the site, forensic tests have not yet been possible.

The last fire began in the early hours of Sunday morning.

It caused the roof to collapse. Five others were injured, including a pregnant woman, explains tabloid Correio da Manhã.

António Gonçalves had been born in the building, says the paper, stressing he had been ‘refusing to leave it’.

The site, in Rua Alexandre Braga, sits within “one of the most sought-after areas for developers refurbishing old buildings and turning them into luxury apartments for tourists”.

According to CM, prices over the last few years have leaped by more than 30%.

Certainly Gonçalves friends and family mistrust the causes of this latest fire.

“Assassins, accursed, they killed him” a group is described as having wailed on news of Gonçalves’ death.

The four-storey building has been “reduced to rubble”, the paper concludes.

It was not apparently in a habitable condition, and if other residents’ comments are anything to go by, the owners of the building “have been doing everything they can to get (residents) to leave”.

Says CM, a few days ago, the daughter of an elderly tenant “received a telephone call with threats”.

The threats were apparently communicated to local police.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com