Woman on crutches, 64, starts four fires over stretch of 10 kms

One of blazes destroys vehicle valued at €32,000

A 64-year-old woman on crutches has been described as going on a fire-raising rampage “during a psychotic episode”, in which she managed to cover a distance of 10kms, starting four fires as she went.

One of the blazes destroyed a pick-up valued at €32,000, writes Correio da Manhã this morning, as well as a rubbish bin. 

“A gas bottle deposit only didn’t explode because the material she used to start this particular fire went out on its own”, the paper adds.

The story actually goes back to last October – but explains, in part, the difficulties authorities are up against right now, in the heat of a drought-beset summer: people who start fires are seriously disturbed, and hugely unpredictable.

In this instance, the woman booked herself into an ‘alojamento local’ in Coruche, says CM – and began her trail of hellraising at 3am, precisely when no-one was around to stop her.

Armed with a bottle of ethyl alcohol she began by setting light to a rubbish bin close by; then moved on to a fuel station – where she tried to set light to the bank of gas bottles.

CCTV cameras then tracked her moving on her crutches to a car park where she torched the pick-up truck, and on she went…

It was only at 7am near Fajarda, over 10 kms away, that she was finally ‘caught red handed’ trying to set light to scrubland near homes.

Bipolar, and said to have been acting in the context of a ‘decompensation’ of her condition, the woman has been under house arrest ever since, and is due to face a court hearing in Santarém shortly.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com