Claim for 1.8 ME in favour of the State for fire in Monchique

By TPN/Lusa, in Algarve · 17-11-2020 11:30:00 · 1 Comments
Claim for 1.8 ME in favour of the State for fire in Monchique

The Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) has deducted a civil compensation claim in favour of the Portuguese State and against EDP Distribuição and one employee, of 1.8 million Euros, for the costs incurred in fighting the Monchique fire in 2018.

The company and the employee who is the operational manager in the Portimão unit of the Redes do Sul Maintenance Area, were accused of the crime of forest fire aggravated by negligence, for allegedly having omitted "their duties of surveillance and maintenance" of the medium voltage line that, according to the MP, caused the fire.

According to the indictment, by not cutting, thinning and cleaning the eucalyptus branches which, in contact with the medium voltage line, caused the fire, the defendants caused the State "property damage amounting to 1.8 million Euros".

"The defendants did not inspect the line or cut down vegetation on the site, as was their obligation, in order to prevent the eucalyptus from reaching a height that could come into contact with the electricity line, which is what happened and was the cause of the fire," the document reads.

The amount of compensation formulated by the MP of Portimão is the sum of the costs incurred by the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC) in fighting the fire, mostly related to the air resources allocated to the operation (1.1 million Euros).

According to the indictment, during the seven days that the fire lasted – which originated in the Perna Negra area on 3 August, 2018 – 134 air missions were carried out, totalling 612 hours and 49 minutes of flight time.

The other costs incurred by ANEPC are related to vehicles, equipment, fuel, food and external means used in the fight against the rural fire that consumed a forest area of 26,885 hectares in the municipalities of Silves, Odemira, Portimão and Monchique, in the Algarve. The fire was fought by dozens of fire brigades across the country and destroyed 62 first and 49 second homes, killing about 5,600 animals and injuring about 40 people.

In a statement sent to Lusa, EDP stressed that in view of the information available to them, both the company and the employee remained "convinced that they have correctly adopted all the procedures in force" and are "confident that the clarification of the facts will demonstrate it". The company also said that it would "assess in detail the order" of indictment and "present the defense in due time and place, reiterating, as so far, its willingness to aster the causes that led to this fire and the way it has evolved".



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Comments:

I used to have a tall palm tree in my garden that would touch the overhead electric cables particularly when it got very hot in August 2018. On more than one occasion the top fronds would arc, smoke and then catch fire. I called EDP to try and arrange some outage time on the cables in order that I could safely take down the tree without risk of being electrocuted. They were not interested in the slightest so deserve everything they get.

By Scott from Algarve on 17-11-2020 07:54
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