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Three more named as defendants in Pedrógão Grande criminal inquiry

FireGoisThe number of people officially named as defendants, or arguidos, in the inquiry into last June’s inferno at Pedrógão Grande, has risen to ten.

Margarida Gonçalves of the Civil Protection force for the Pedrógão Grande area; José Graça, Pedrógão’s deputy mayor and António Castanheira, the general manager of the Council, are the new defendants.

The investigation into the fire and its management is due to run for a year so enters its final stretch now that the prosecutor has heard testimony from 200 witnesses. The suspects may face criminal charges of negligent manslaughter and bodily harm through negilgence.

The fire started on June 17th last year and burned 50,000 hectares of forest, destroying hundreds of houses, leaving 250 people injured and 66 dead.

Until now, the case had seven defendants: Mário Cerol, deputy district commander of the civil protection force of Leiria; Augusto Arnaut, commander of the Pedrógão fire service and Sérgio Gomes, commander of the Leiria District Relief Operations Center.

Also, two employees from the road company, Ascendi and two others from subcontractors involved in forest cleaning and management.

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