57 Killed In Deadly Forest Fire In Portugal

  • 06-18-2017 01:06 PM

59 also injured in forest fire near ​​Pedrogao Grande area, northeast of Lisbon

A forest fire on Saturday has claimed 57 lives in Portugal, according to Jorge Gomes, the secretary of state for internal affairs.

The fire broke out in the Pedrogao Grande area, a municipality about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of capital Lisbon.

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The death toll rose from 39 to 57, Gomes told Portuguese news agency Lusa Sunday.

Gomes also said 18 of the 59 injured have been taken to the hospital. Five, including four firefighters, are in critical condition.

Portuguese media reported that several people were killed in their cars.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said: “It is the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years”.

More than 1,500 firefighters are battling the fire that is rapidly spreading to homes in the area, due to high temperatures and wind.

EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides expressed his condolences in a statement.

“The EU is fully ready to help. All will be done to assist the authorities and people of Portugal at this time of need,” he said, adding the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism had been activated to provide firefighting aircraft following a request from assiance issued by Portugal.

Stylianides also said France and Spain would offer planes to assist the local emergency efforts.

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