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Tragedy in Spain: 4 dead, 19 missing as fire engulfs apartment block.

Photo: AFP

Tragedy Unfolds in Valencia: Four Dead and 19 Missing in Devastating Apartment Block Fire

In a heartbreaking incident, a massive fire engulfed a 14-storey apartment block in Valencia, Spain, claiming at least four lives, with 19 people still missing. Officials warn of a potential rise in the death toll.

Highly-Flammable Cladding Blamed for Rapid Inferno

Experts attribute the swift spread of the inferno, which began at 5:30 pm on Thursday, to the building's highly-flammable cladding. Dramatic images capture the ferocious blaze, throwing out clouds of black smoke in the western Campanar neighborhood.

Deputy Director Addresses Casualties and Missing Individuals

Jorge Suarez Torres, Deputy Director of Emergency Services for the Valencia region, confirms four deaths but refrains from confirming the number of missing persons. Emergency services report treating 14 individuals, including a seven-year-old child and six firefighters, with 12 taken to the hospital.

Drones Aid in Body Discovery as Firefighters Struggle to Enter

Bodies are discovered with the assistance of drones, as firefighters face challenges entering the building. The structure is described as reduced to a skeleton, with uncertainty about when access will be possible.

Intensive Firefighting Efforts and Polyurethane Cladding Concerns

More than 130 flats in the building prompt 22 firefighting teams to battle the blaze. Experts express concerns over the rapid fire spread, attributing it to highly flammable polyurethane cladding.

Eyewitness Accounts and Social Media Footage

Eyewitnesses recount the horrifying speed at which the flames engulfed the building, fueled by strong winds. Social media footage shows dramatic rescues, intensifying the emotional impact on the community.

National Response and Prime Minister's Statement

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expresses shock over the tragedy, pledging assistance. The incident raises fears reminiscent of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, emphasizing the urgency of scrutinizing building materials.

Recalling Past Incidents and Ongoing Investigations

The fear of polyurethane cladding exacerbating the Valencia fire echoes past tragedies, including the 2017 Grenfell Tower incident. Investigations are ongoing as authorities seek to understand the cause and prevent future occurrences.

Feb. 23, 2024 6:36 p.m. 1338

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