EDP ??had made sure that any physical evidence, that the fire in Pedrógão Grande was started by its power lines setting light to trees, has been destroyed by staff cleaning up certain key areas under investigation.
Xavier Viegas, the expert from the Center for Studies on Forest Fires at the University of Coimbra, asked the Public Prosecutor’s Office to ensure the areas where the fires started were left untouched but EDP ??cut down trees and cleared burned scrub, claiming the instruction was received after this work has been completed.
EDP ??cleaned the places where the June fire in Pedrógão Grande started, in the knowledge that the independent technical report attributed ignition points to its power cables coming into contact with trees.
By the time the Public Prosecutor’s notice arrived at EDP, the company states that it already had sent employees to the site to cut down the trees.
Xavier Viegas said there are ‘before and after’ photographs but that it was “important to preserve the area” in case it was necessary to pursue investigations to look for signs of electrical discharges in the vegetation.
EDP Comercial says its actions were aimed at “restoring the security conditions of the networks and ensuring the electric supply to the population. The work was of an ad hoc nature and was made known to all the competent authorities.”
The president of the Association of Fire Victims of Pedrógão Grande, Nadia Piazza, does not rule out the suspicion that attempts have been made to destroy evidence as not only did EDP undertake a clean-up, Ascendi, the manager of the EN236 ‘road of death,’ also seems to have lost no time in removing potential evidence.