A fire has Engulfed Several Residential Buildings in Valencia, Spain, Killing at Least four People

Reports indicate that four individuals have lost their lives and as many as 15 others are unaccounted for following a destructive blaze that engulfed two connected residential buildings in Valencia, Spain.

A fire broke out in a 14-storey block in the Campanar neighbourhood and extended to a nearby building.

Firefighters were observed saving individuals from balconies.

According to experts, the flammable cladding on the building allowed the fire to quickly spread.

According to the building’s manager, the building houses 138 flats and accommodated 450 residents, as reported by El Pais newspaper.

At least 14 individuals, including six firefighters and a young child, have sustained injuries.

Over 20 fire crews worked together to combat the fire, which was exacerbated by strong winds. As of early Friday, the block appeared as a massive charred shell. Individuals were advised to avoid the vicinity.

According to local reports, firefighters successfully rescued multiple residents using cranes, including a couple residing on the seventh floor.

According to one witness interviewed by TVE, firefighters were seen trying to rescue a teenage boy stuck on the first floor of the building.

Luis Ibanez, a local resident, shared with TVE that he witnessed the rapid spread of flames engulfing the building in just a few minutes, describing it as being extremely flammable.

“I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. The entire side of the building across from it was engulfed in flames.

According to a resident on the second floor, the fire quickly intensified after it began, allegedly on the fourth floor, as reported to TV channel La Sexta.

“The fire spread in just 10 minutes,” he mentioned, suggesting that material on the facade of the building could have contributed to the fire’s rapid spread.

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There have been inquiries in Spain regarding the materials used in the construction of the building, which was completed in 2008-09.

Esther Puchades, the vice president of the College of Industrial Technical Engineers of Valencia, informed the Spanish news agency Efe that she had conducted a prior inspection of the building.

According to her, the outside is made of a polyurethane material that is no longer widely used due to concerns about flammability. Additionally, it features an aluminium covering.

“The building burned rapidly due to this specific cladding,” she informed Spanish media.

Experts have described the cladding as effective for heat insulation, but the ventilation gap between it and the covering can make it highly flammable.

Luis Sendra, a member of Valencia’s architects’ association, warned about the potential for a “chimney effect” that could lead to faster spread of fires.

Remembering the 2017 tragedy at London’s Grenfell Tower, the topic of cladding resurfaces. The cladding was held responsible for aiding the flames to spread during the fire, leading to 72 fatalities.

Firefighters were summoned at approximately 17:30 local time (16:30 GMT). According to RTVE, a field hospital has been established in the region. Individuals who have been displaced from their residences will be accommodated in hotels, as per officials.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed his concern about the devastating fire in a building in Valencia and extended his support to those affected and appreciation to the emergency responders on site.

The mayor of Valencia has shared that official mourning days will be declared in the city.

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