Spain: at least four dead and 14 missing in building fire in Valencia

Steph Deschamps / February 28, 2024
At least four people died on Thursday in a fire in a 14-storey residential building in the Spanish port city of Valencia, while 14 others are missing, according to the authorities on Friday.
 
"We can confirm that there are four dead," Jorge Suarez Torres, deputy director of
emergencies for the Valencia region, told the press on Thursday night.
 
The prefect of the Valencia region, Pilar Bernabé, said on Friday morningthat "14 people" had "not been located" among the residents of the building in the El Campanar district, which is believed to have 138 apartments.
 
The mayor of Valencia, María José Catalá, gave a figure of "9 to 15" missing, based on information gathered from local police and residents of the building. A source in the town hall had told AFP overnight, on condition of anonymity, that 19 people were unaccounted for.
 
On behalf of the Spanish government, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez expressed his solidarity with the families of the victims.
 
The fire broke out on Thursday at around 5.30pm on the fourth floor, before spreading at a spectacular rate.
"The characteristics of the building do not allow us to extinguish (the fire) in the interior part" of the building at the moment, explained Jorge Suarez Torres. "We are working to cool the building by the façades, which is the objective for the next few hours. We can't say at the moment when we'll be able to get inside the structure," he added.
Speaking on regional television station A Punt, Esther Puchades, number two of the regional association of industrial engineers, blamed the presence of a highly flammable polyurethane coating on the facade. Other experts agreed.
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