A memorial dedicated to the 115 victims of the 2017 fires opens today

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The Memorial to the Victims of the 2017 Fires was inaugurated today, next to National Road 236-1, in the Pobrais area, Pedrógão Grande (Leiria). It is named after the 115 victims who perished in the fires that year, Infraestruturas de Portugal revealed.

Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) explains that it has inaugurated the Memorial in tribute to the victims of the 2017 forest fires, a project by architect Souto Moura.

“The memorial includes a framing pond of around 2,500 square meters, fed by a 60-meter-long gargoyle and bordered by a band of plants composed of white water lilies, lilies and ranunculus,” the company said.

According to Period of Inquiry, “the memorial also includes, as its centerpiece, a wall on which is inscribed the name of each of the 115 people who fell victim to the forest fires in June and October 2017.”

The fires that broke out on June 17, 2017 – it will be six years next Saturday – in Pedrógão Grande and spread to neighboring municipalities caused the death of 66 people, as well as injuries to 253 others, seven of them serious. The fires destroyed around half a thousand homes and 50 businesses.

Most of the dead were found on National Road (EN) 236-1, which links Castanheira de Pera and Figueiró dos Vinhos, near which a memorial has been erected.

In October of the same year, other fires in the Central region resulted in 49 deaths and around 70 injuries, as well as the total or partial destruction of around 1,500 homes and more than 500 businesses.

“As the memorial is a tribute to the victims, their families and friends, we feel that this is the appropriate date to inaugurate it, and everyone will be able to enjoy it,” the company said.

The PI said that in order to guarantee the conditions for enjoying the memorial, particularly in terms of road safety for access and traffic in the middle of the road”, “a half-roundabout on EN 236-1 has been built at kilometer 7.5, to allow the reversing movement of vehicles”.

According to the company, the road was also “widened to incorporate a deceleration lane and the approach to the turning area, in addition to the requalification of the landscaped environment on the side of EN 236-1 next to the memorial”.

In 2019, at a meeting held in the municipality of Castanheira de Pera, a protocol was signed between the Pedrógão Grande Fire Victims Association and Infraestruturas de Portugal for the construction of the memorial.

The tender was launched on February 10, 2021. Budgeted at 1,794,761.91 euros, work began on September 13 of the same year and had a 300-day execution period, ending on June 10, 2022.

In June last year, Infraestruturas de Portugal justified the delay in concluding the contract by a lack of materials.

In February this year, the company clarified that the last tasks to be carried out, namely planting and seeding, could only be completed in the spring; work was therefore suspended at that time, and it was indicated that it would be completed in the second quarter.

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