As many as 15 people still missing after Valencia apartment building fire

Valencia’s mayor María José Catalá said that between nine and 15 people are still missing after a devastating fire reduced a 14-storey apartment building to a skeleton on Thursday night.

Authorities reported that at least four people died in the fire, while 15 are being treated for injuries, including seven firefighters. According to emergency authorities, they’re not at risk.

The fire started in the early evening and spread to an adjacent building, state news agency Efe reported. The cause of the fire was not immediately known but reports mention that its rapid spread might be explained by the material used in the building construction.

In June 2017, a massive fire engulfed an apartment block in London, Grenfell Tower, killing 72 people, including those who died later in the hospital. The building’s cladding has been blamed for the lightning-fast spread fire and was subsequently banned from use on medium-rise buildings in England.

The same flammable material is now being blamed for the quick spread of the fire in Valencia.

A housing block burns in Valencia, Spain, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024.

The building in the Campanar neighbourhood contained 138 flats and hosted 450 residents, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.

The city has announced three days of mourning following the incident.

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