Four dead, 20 more feared killed as fire engulfs apartment block in Spain

Friday, February 23, 2024
 – A massive fire has killed at least four people with twenty more feared dead in a high-rise residential block in the Spanish city of Valencia.

The apartment block in Valencia caught fire at around 5.30pm on Thursday, February 23, trapping more than 400 residents in the complex in their homes before it continued to rage on into the early hours of Friday morning.

At least 14 people, including six firefighters and a young child, have been injured.

More than 20 fire crews tackled the blaze, and by early Friday the block was a giant fire-blackened shell. People were urged to stay away from the area.

The building contains 138 flats and was home to 450 residents, newspaper El Pais reported, citing the building's manager.

Local reports said firefighters had rescued several residents using cranes, including a couple living on the seventh floor.

One woman told TVE she had seen firefighters attempting to rescue a teenage boy trapped on the building's first floor.

Spain’s TVE public television said there were more than 130 flats in the 14-storey building that was rapidly “reduced to a skeleton”.

Speaking to regional TV station A Punt, Esther Puchades, deputy head of Valencia’s industrial engineers association, said the fire had spread so rapidly because the building was covered with highly flammable polyurethane cladding.

David Higuera, an engineer, told El País the building's cladding may have been the cause of the rapid spread of the fire.

The aluminium plates with a foam insulator making up the outer layer of the building are "very good at insulating against heat and cold, but very combustible," he said.

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