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Valencia mourns those killed in the brutal fire of a residential building

The Spanish city of Valence paid tribute this Saturday to the victims of the fire that consumed a residential buildingA tenth body was found in the rubble, ending the search for the missing.

Hundreds of people gathered at noon in front of Valencia City Hall to observe five minutes of silence with the authorities.

“There are no words to describe the pain that this city feels at this moment and all Valencians have joined in this pain,” the city’s mayor, María José Catalá, told the press.

Some of the participants wore sunglasses to hide their red eyes, and others wiped away tears as the crowd fell silent and the square’s bells rang.

A large fire engulfs a multi-story residential block in Valencia on February 22, 2024. (Photo by Jose Jordan/AFP) (JOSE JORDAN/)

At the end, those present applauded spontaneously and the authorities embraced the families who lost loved ones, whose faces were marked by exhaustion, shock and pain.

“It was a horrible thing. “I’m from this neighborhood and this hit me very closely,” Concha López, a 60-year-old printing press employee, explained to AFP, in tears.

“It’s terrible, it gives me goosebumps,” said Sara Navia, a 75-year-old woman.

The city is shocked by the tragedy, which led to the suspension of several events this weekend, such as the La Liga football game that Valencia was due to play in Granada.

They recover the last deceased

The discovery this Saturday of a tenth body in the building completes the search for the missing, although the ruins continue to be searched, authorities said.

“In principle, we do not expect to find any more victims,” Valencia fire chief inspector Enrique Gisbert told the press.

After the violent fire that completely destroyed the building in the Campanar neighborhood on Thursday, authorities had reported 14 people missing, but this Saturday’s information appears to reduce the number to 10.

Firefighters continue to work after the sudden and devastating fire in a fourteen-story residential building in Valencia, which spread to another annex, causing four deaths, and are looking for another nineteen people who are missing and whose relatives have not been found.  locate from the start of the fire.  EFE/Biel Aliño

Firefighters continue to work after the sudden and devastating fire in a fourteen-story residential building in Valencia, which spread to another annex, causing four deaths, and are looking for another nineteen people who are missing and whose relatives have not been found. locate from the start of the fire. EFE/Biel Aliño

The Government delegate in Valencia, Pilar Bernabé, informed the press that, although the search continues “inch by inch”, the discovery of this tenth body means that they have found all the people who were not known.

From now on, identification tasks will begin, “complex tasks in which they have to identify [los cuerpos] with DNA tests and we want them to be carried out with total guarantee”, he explained.

Therefore, “no deadline” can be given, he concluded.

From the tragedy of Ukraine to Valencia

The fire broke out at around 5:30 pm (4:30 pm GMT) on Thursday and, in just half an hour, fueled by wind gusts exceeding 50 km/h, the flames completely engulfed the building.

There is also speculation about the material that covered the building and its flammability, which brought back memories of the tragedy of the Grenfell skyscraper in London, where 72 people died in a fire due, in large part, to the material that covered it.

“We are receiving many calls from clients, from communities of owners, from concerned people, sending us photos” of their facades, architect Adrián Ferrando, from the Oasis studio in Valencia, explained to AFP.

“We don’t know what was on this facade, they will have to look for the material that burned, because in the images it was seen that it was the facade that was burning”, he continued.

Firefighters inspect the consequences of a large fire that yesterday devastated a multi-storey residential block, killing at least four people, in Valencia, on February 23, 2024. (Photo by JOSÉ JORDANIA / AFP)

Firefighters inspect the consequences of a large fire that yesterday devastated a multi-storey residential block, killing at least four people, in Valencia, on February 23, 2024. (Photo by JOSÉ JORDANIA / AFP) (JOSE JORDAN/)

As the fire occurred in the early afternoon, many residents were outside, so the death toll was lower than it could have been.

A Ukrainian couple who lived in the building were returning from the post office when they came across the fire, from which they were unable to rescue their dog.

This couple was saved from the Russian invasion because they lived in Israel, and from the Gaza war because they moved to Spain.

“We avoided war in Ukraine, we avoided war in Israel and we came here. And now this…” lamented the woman, who only wanted to be identified as Lisa, in conversation with AFP.

Source: Elcomercio

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