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Death Toll In Spanish Apartment Fire Rises To At Least 10

23.02.2024 20:27

Around 450 people lived in building in Valencia, which was rapidly engulfed by flames.

Firefighters and police have so far discovered the bodies of 10 people after a fire ripped through two large residential buildings in Valencia, a government official announced Friday evening.

Pilar Bernabe said the victims were identified after the first survey of the charred building, which concluded around 24 hours after the fire broke out.

"We cannot discount the possibility of more victims, there will be more inspections," she told the media, adding that the victims fit with reports of people missing.

Four of the victims were from the same family — a mother, father, a 3-year-old girl, and a newborn baby, El Pais reported.

Valencian President Carlos Mazon said 15 people were injured, five of whom were firefighters. None are in serious condition.

On Thursday, firefighters were able to rescue two people who were standing on their balconies. A firefighter also had to jump from the second floor, fleeing the flames.

Polyurethane suspected

Experts originally told Spanish media that the buildings were clad with polyurethane — the same material used to insulate the Grenfell Tower in London, which went up in flames in 2017, killing 72 people.

The scenes between the two fires were similar – the buildings in London and Valencia were engulfed by flames within around 30 minutes of the original fires breaking out. Thick plumes of black smoke billowed out.

However, the official body of Valencian architects later denied the building had used the highly flammable material, saying mineral wool insulation was used instead.

Its head suggested the fire spread so quickly due to the air chambers in the building, in addition to strong winds which were also present.

The building was built between 2005 and 2009, according to local media.

Esther Puchades, vice president of the College of Industrial Technical Engineers of Valencia, originally told broadcaster Cadena Ser that polyurethane was likely the cause, which she said can act like a "match" when exposed to a flame.

Later, she said that according to Valencia Plaza, they will have to wait for an investigation to determine the material.

"All signs pointed to polyurethane as causing the voracity of the flames and the color of the smoke," she said. "But in my experience, the facade had some materials with plastic components."

Media reports said that the fire broke out on the eighth floor and spread across the two attached apartment buildings where around 450 people live.

Valencia has declared three days of mourning, which includes suspending the first events of the famous Las Fallas festival. -

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