Portugal weather service scientists agree that there is a close to zero chance that a direct bolt of lightning caused the killer fire in Pedrógão Grande.
A new IPMA report concludes that there is “a close to zero chance (but not zero) of the occurrence of a cloud-to land discharge in the vicinity of the fire ignition site."
This is what the president of the Portuguese Institute of Atmosphere and Sea (IPMA) wrote to the Government in his letter accompanying a full report on the local weather systems at the time of the fire which killed 64 people.
IPMA President, Jorge Miranda, said of possible lightning, "it does not mean that it did not exist, because there are uncommon phenomena that can give rise to situations of electric discharges that are not picked up by the IPMA network."
Expresso today advances another theory; that a lightning bolt hit an electricity transformer station and a burst of energy travelled along cables to Escalos Fundeiros where the fire is said to have started.
If this is what happened, the final police report on the Pedrógão Grande will record that "the fire was caused accidentally and linked to a thunderstorm.”
The loss of life can be attributed to the ensuing chaos as emergency personnel were unable to communicate at key times during the blaze. This is blamed on the capacity of the privately run SIRESP system which became overloaded.
The Left Bloc has tabled a draft resolution that recommends the government scraps the Public-Private Partnership with the company SIRESP SA, as its communications service failed at the moment it most was needed.
Leader of the Bloquistas, Catarina Martins, commented that "There is still a lot to be learned, but there are things that are already known: one is that at the most important time, SIRESP (Integrated System of Emergency and Security Networks of Portugal) failed.”
The Bloc leader pointed out that SIRESP is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), which has cost "five times more than the system costs," adding that trying to get out of the cushy SIRESP contract means shovelling more money at the company whose communications system failed so badly.
"Trying to correct the SIRESP contract, which needs to be corrected, under the PPP means giving more money to a private company which has always failed to do what should be done," she said.
Therefore, the Left Bloc will propose in Parliament on July 5th that "the PPP contract with SIRESP SA ends," and the State runs things from now on.
"We can not continue to pay a private company that always fails," said Martins. She has much support.
So, as previously in the Algarve a few years back - the Bombeiros report having to watch unimportant little people's houses get burnt whilst they are statinoned outside important peoples properties. With the instructions to "Save your water until its needed"
Seems to me the money would be bettor spent on your
fire service . Also give them the power to recommend what needs to be done to prevent and contain such fires. As for this fire being an act of god, seems to me its the perfect out for those responsible..