Three people die in a fire in Santa Coloma de Gramenet
Firefighters found two simultaneous fires, as neighbours denounce the block is "problematic"
Santa Coloma de GramenetThree people died and a fourth was critically injured after a fire broke out last night at a residential building in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, with three more suffering minor injuries. As reported by the city council, the fire broke out at a building on Sant Joaquim street and the firefighters, who sent in ten teams, have already extinguished the flames. Eduard Martinez, the head of the Fire Service of the northern metropolitan region, explained to RAC1 that when they arrived they found a fire burning with two simultaneous outbreaks: one on the ground floor (in the metre room) and another in the second.
Firefighters located the deadly victims on the landing of the first floor, on the landing of the second floor and inside the affected house. At the back of this same floor they found a woman who had suffered severe burns on her body and was taken to Vall d'Hebron hospital, where she remains in critical condition. The Emergency Medical System attended three more people, one of whom was discharged on the spot, while the other two were slightly injured and were taken to the Esperit Sant Hospital in Santa Coloma de Gramenet. They are a 31-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman. The Mossos d'Esquadra have taken charge of the legal proceedings and the investigation into the causes of the fire, which was completely put out by 04.53 am.
Eduardo Román, 71, lives on the second floor and was woken in the early hours of the morning by the loud noise he heard. "I thought they were fighting," he says, referring to the group of youngsters who live on the second floor and used to cause trouble. But when he opened the door, he saw the staircase was "on fire" with "tremendous" flames coming up from below. "I couldn't get out," Román recalls, who went out onto the balcony of his apartment "to be able to breathe."
Eduardo's son explains that four of the six apartments on the block had been squats for about seven years, until a year and a half ago the owner offered them a social rent. He assures that "every week" there were fights in the building and that on many nights they could not sleep because of the loud music. "If you gave this address when you called the police, they didn't come," he laments. On the wall below the block, on the street, there was graffiti against the squatters. Another neighbour, Fernando, says police had to intervene last weekend due to a fight involving a knife and threats, after which one person was arrested. "It's very problematic," he says in reference to the building.
No structural damage
The building has suffered no structural damage, as reported by the Fire Department, and utility companies have also been called in to assess the damage. As a preventive measure, electricity and gas supplies have been cut off. Barcelona's emergencies centre (CUESB) was also activated in case it is necessary to relocate residents, and the street has been cut off to traffic.
The City Council has thanked the Fire Department, the Mossos, the Local Police and the SEM for their work. It has also requested the "utmost respect" for the fire brigade's investigation. Catalan minister of Home Affairs Joan Ignasi Elena expressed condolences to the victims' families and friends on the government's behalf. Elena has also spoken by phone with the mayor of Santa Coloma, Núria Parlon.