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Spain: 4 Dead, 15 Missing After Residential Buildings Go Up In Flames In Valencia

23.02.2024 12:12

Fire spread rapidly across 2 buildings clad with flammable polyurethane.

At least four people are dead and up to 15 are missing, Valencian authorities said on Friday morning, after a fire ripped through two large residential buildings in the Spanish city of Valencia.

Emergency services still have not entered the charred buildings. Firefighters are still cooling the buildings, which caught fire early Thursday evening, and ensuring the structural integrity.

"We can only confirm what we have seen, which at this moment is four people," Jorge Suarez, sub-director of Valencian emergency services told the press.

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

Experts 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 in flames within around 30 minutes of the original fires breaking out. Thick plumes of black smoke billowed out.

"The polyurethane on the facade turned the building into a fireplace," insurance appraiser Juan Antonio Diego, who knew the details of the building, told El Mundo."It's a synthetic material that allows for good thermal performance… but it's flammable."

In Valencia, firefighters were able to rescue two people who were standing on their balconies. A firefighter also had to jump out of the second floor fleeing the flames.

Esther Puchades, vice president of the College of Industrial Technical Engineers of Valencia, told broadcaster Cadena Ser that many of the other buildings in the new residential area in the city may also have polyurethane in the cladding, which can act like a "match" when exposed to a flame.

Strong winds were also present at the time, making the situation even worse, she added.

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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