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At least four killed in Spain apartment block fire

A massive fire has killed at least four people in a high-rise residential block in the Spanish city of Valencia, emergency services say.

The blaze engulfed a 14-storey block in the Campanar neighbourhood and spread to an adjoining building.

Firefighters were seen rescuing people from balconies, and nineteen are believed to be still missing.

At least 14 people, including six firefighters and a young child, have been injured.

High winds fanned the flames, but there are also suspicions that highly flammable cladding enabled the fire to spread rapidly.

More than 20 fire crews tackled the blaze, and by early Friday the block was a giant fire-blackened shell. People were urged to stay away from the area.

The building contains 138 flats and was home to 450 residents, newspaper El Pais reported, citing the building’s manager.

A building on fire in Valencia

A man and emergency services at the scene of a fire
EPA

Local reports said firefighters had rescued several residents using cranes, including a couple living on the seventh floor.

One woman told TVE she had seen firefighters attempting to rescue a teenage boy trapped on the building’s first floor.

In the hours after the fire rapidly took hold, questions have been asked in Spain about the materials used in the building’s construction.

Esther Puchades, vice president of the College of Industrial Technical Engineers of Valencia, told Spanish news agency Efe she had previously inspected the building.

She claimed its exterior featured a polyurethane material, which is no longer in wide use because of fears over flammability.

One man who lives on the second floor of the building told TV channel La Sexta that the flames grew rapidly after the fire started, reportedly on the fourth floor.

“The fire spread in a matter of 10 minutes,” he said, adding that material on the facade of the building may have caused the fire to spread.

Fire in Valencia
GETTY IMAGES

A building on fire in Valencia
GETTY IMAGES

David Higuera, an engineer, told El País the building’s cladding may have been the cause of the rapid spread of the fire.

The aluminium plates with a foam insulator making up the outer layer of the building are “very good at insulating against heat and cold, but very combustible,” he said.

Firefighters were called at around 17:30 local time (16:30 GMT). A field hospital has been set up in the area, RTVE reported. People displaced from their homes would be housed in hotels, authorities said.

Writing on X (formerly known as Twitter) Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said: “Dismayed by the terrible fire in a building in Valencia… I want to convey my solidarity to all the people affected and recognition to all the emergency personnel already deployed at the scene.”

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