Fatalities as fire engulfs apartment blocks in Spain

According to news reports, at least four people have died after a large fire engulfed two joined apartments in Valencia, Spain.

Fire in Valencia, Spain General view of the building after the fire yesterday, February 22, in the Campanar neighborhood, February 23, 2024, in Valencia, Valencian Community (Spain). A large fire yesterday swept through a 14-story building in the Campanar neighborhood of Valencia. Image: Jorge Gil / Europa Press 02/23/2024

Television footage showed the building’s facade ablaze on the night of Thursday 22 February, with burning segments falling to the pavement and small explosions audible inside. According to witnesses, the fire, fanned by strong winds, spread to the entire building in about half an hour.

The apartment block where the fire started is a 14-storey block. It is thought that more than 15 people have also been injured due to the incident and up to 14 people remain unaccounted for.

It has been reported that one of the reasons the fire spread so rapidly was due to the materials used on the outside of the building, which was constructed in 2008-2009.

BBC news reports that its exterior featured a polyurethane material, which is no longer in wide use because of fears over its combustibility. It also has an aluminium covering.

In 2017 cladding was blamed for helping flames to spread when a fire broke out at London’s Grenfell Tower, resulting in 72 deaths.

A public inquiry following the Grenfell Tower disaster is still examining the causes of the events that led to the fatal fire.

A series of public hearings concluded in September 2022 and a report on the causes is expected to be published later this year.

In an update published last month, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry said it had completed draft chapters relating to manufacturers of construction products used on the building, as well as chapters on the certification bodies that signed them off for use in construction applications.

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