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Tragic victims of Spain’s Grenfell: Family of four including two young children, plus elderly couple who cowered with their dog in the bathroom are first six confirmed to have died as firefighters begin search for bodies


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Spain’s Justice Ministry to mobilise up to eight autopsy teams to investigate blaze deaths

The Minister of Justice, Elisa Núñez, has sent out between four and eight teams to carry out autopsies on the bodies of those who have died in the deadly fire.

Núñez has also contacted local duty courts to help facilitate the autopsies, and added: ‘We have made the victim care network available for psychological care and a team of 24 psychologists.’

Details emerge of elderly couple who died in Valencia fire

The elderly couple who reportedly died in the blaze were killed as they hid in the bathroom of their home, El Diario Vasco reports.

The outlet also reported that a black veil, signifiying mourning, has been put up at Sant Pau nursery, where one of the children who died in the fire studied.

It was also reported that the Spanish Red Cross’ emergency counselling team have entered the nursery school.

Debris falls onto firefighters working to secure burnt building

Debris falling on firefighters as they work at a burned block building in Valencia, Spain, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. Firefighters continue cooling the skeleton of two residential buildings where they want to search for nearly 20 people missing after a fire intensified by strong winds spread quickly on Thursday night. 4 people died and 14 were injured. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
Debris falling on firefighters as they work at a burned block building in Valencia, Spain, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. Firefighters continue cooling the skeleton of two residential buildings where they want to search for nearly 20 people missing after a fire intensified by strong winds spread quickly on Thursday night. 4 people died and 14 were injured. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)

Breaking: Death toll of deadly blaze rises to six, local media reports

Basque tabloid El Diario Vasco has reported that the death toll for the blaze has been upped to six.

The outlet said that a family of four, as well as an elderly couple and their dog, died in the Valencia blaze.

Granada-Valencia and Levante-Andorra matches postponed in wake of deadly fire

The Granada-Valencia and Levante-Andorra matches have both been postponed, following the death of at least four people in Valencia.

Valencia’s team was due to visit Granada’s field for a match that started at 2pm tomorrow, while Levante and Andorra were set to face each other off at the Ciutat de València stadium at 9pm tomorrow.

It is not currently clear when the matches have been postponed to.

Watch: Valencia resident walks onto balcony to see horror blaze

Police set up collection point for DNA samples from relatives of missing victims

Police in Valencia have set up points across the city to collect information and DNA samples from the relatives of the people still missing in the aftermath of the deadly apartment block blaze.

The points will be open for at least today, with the possibility of staying open over the weekend, sources told El Mundo.

Spain’s PM looks over fire’s aftermath

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez looks on as he visits Valencia, in the aftermath of a fire at an apartment building, in Valencia, Spain, February 23, 2024. REUTERS/Eva Manez

Watch: Valencia mayor provides update after apartment block blaze

Firefighters and police now entering fourth floor of 14-storey building

Police and firefighters have now been able to access to fourth floor of the 14-storey building, after previously saying that temperatures were too high to go higher than the third floor.

Progress on the investigation of the nearly 140 homes in the building is expected to be slow, as firefighters will have to spend along time making sure each floor is safe to go to.

Spain PM says priority is now ‘the search for victims’

Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister, is currently at the scene of the blaze, and has met with emergency services.

He said in a speech in front of the ruined building: ‘The priority now is the search for victims and without a doubt trying to safeguard the safety of public servants.

‘I would like, on behalf of the Government of Spain and I believe on behalf of Spanish society as a whole, to convey our solidarity, affection and empathy to the families of the victims already known by this terrible fire.’

He also thanked the emergency services who have been dealing with the blaze: ‘These are times when we value the work of public servants much more.’

epa11174427 Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez (C), arrives to visit the area where a fire destroyed two apartment buildings in Valencia, Spain, 23 February 2024. A fire broke out in a residential building in Valencia on the afternoon of February 22, and spread to an adjacent condominium, leaving four dead and 19 missing.  EPA/Biel Alino

Watch: Smoke billows from block of flats in Spain’s Valencia after inferno

President of European Parliament offers condolences to victims of Valencia blaze

Roberta Metsola, the president of the European Parliament, took to X to offer her condolences, writing in Spanish: ‘My thoughts and solidarity are with all those who lost their lives and their homes in the terrible fire in Valencia, and also with their families.

‘My appreciation to the firefighters for their bravery and continued efforts. Europe is with Spain.’

VALENCIA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Smoke continues to rise from the two buildings in the Campanar neighborhood on February 23, 2024 in Valencia, Spain. Firefighters responded to a blaze that broke out in a section of a 14-storey building in the Campanar area of Valencia yesterday afternoon. The fire spread throughout the building rapidly killing at least four people with between nine to 15 still missing. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Valencian government offers up to €1,500 a month for victims of blaze to rent new homes

Carlos Mazón, president of Valencia’s autonomous government, has now approved aid packages of between €1,000 and €1,500 for anyone affected by the fire to rent a new property.

He has also pledged that anyone affected by the blaze who wants to buy a new home will not have to pay any tax on the sale.

Valencian Bar Association offers free legal advice for victims of the fire

Valencia’s Bar Association has expressed its condolences to the victims of the deadly blaze, and have set up a service to provide free legal advice to anyone affected by it.

It comes after the region’s registrar said it would waive any fees for those affected by the fire who wanted to get new copies of birth certificates and other important documents that may have been lost in the fire.

Firefighters and police begin to enter burned out building

El Pais reports that firefighters have begun to access the building but are only going to up the third floor due to the high temperatures.

Police are accompanying them to begin their investigation.

Valencian government announced aid packages of up to €10,000 for affected families

Carlos Mazón, the president of Valencia’s autonomous government, has approved direct aid packages of between €10,000 and €6,000 for families to buy basic necessities.

He said that the move was to be made in collaboration with Valencia’s city council.

It comes after the city’s mayor, María José Catalá, said that a residential property that the city council recently bought would be used to house at least some of the families affected by the fire.

She said: ‘There are 131 homes that currently have electricity, water and appliances and are being equipped and prepared with everything that is needed.’

Ukrainian couple who fled war had home destroyed in Valencia blaze

A Ukrainian couple who fled from their homeland as Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded had their home destroyed by last night’s fire.

Dymitro Hambarov, his partner Oksana Volkova and their dog, Chuck, are among those being housed at the five-star Valencia Palace hotel following the outbreak of the fire.

The couple, two of 15 people who fled Ukraine and began a new life living in the building, saw smoke coming from the eighth floor, and within minutes the building was on fire.

They revealed they are devastated by the fire consuming everything they have accumulated over the last two years.

‘We arrived in Valencia escaping the bombs in Ukraine and now a fire has left us with nothing,’ Dymitro told El Mundo.

Local residents seen bringing clothes to victims of the blaze

Local residents living in neighbouring blocks were seen collecting and donating clothes and other items to the victims of the blaze, many of whom lost their homes and belongings.

Neighbours bring clothes for the residents of the multistorey residential block ravaged yesterday by a huge fire, killing at least four people, in Valencia on February 23, 2024. At least four people have died in a vast fire that ripped through a 14-storey apartment block in Valencia in eastern Spain, but officials warned today that the death toll could rise sharply. Fourteen people are still missing, the regional administrator said. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Neighbours bring clothes for the residents of the multistorey residential block ravaged yesterday by a huge fire, killing at least four people, in Valencia on February 23, 2024. At least four people have died in a vast fire that ripped through a 14-storey apartment block in Valencia in eastern Spain, but officials warned today that the death toll could rise sharply. Fourteen people are still missing, the regional administrator said. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Mayor reveals six people, including four firefighters, still in hospital

Valencia’s mayor María José Catala today revealed that six people are currently in hospitals across the city.

Four of the six hospitalised people are firefighters who rushed into the 14-storey building that was gutted by the overnight blaze.

New pictures show devastation wrought by fire

New photos show how badly the structure was burned, compared to a nearby building that was unaffected by the fire.

Another picture shows a man cleaning up ashes from the blaze that landed on his rooftop, despite being relatively far away from the site of the fire.

Picture shows the aftermath of a huge fire that yesterday raged through a multistorey residential block killing at least four people, in Valencia on February 23, 2024. At least four people have died in a vast fire that ripped through a 14-storey apartment block in Valencia in eastern Spain, but officials warned today that the death toll could rise sharply. Fourteen people are still missing, the regional administrator said. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A man cleans ashes as an apartment building where a fire occurred is seen on the background, in Valencia, Spain, February 23, 2024. REUTERS/Eva Manez

Police waiting for firefighters to secure building before they investigate the site

El Mundo reports that several officers from the Scientific Police, the forensic arm of the police in Valencia, are preparing to begin their investigation but are waiting for firefighters to secure the site.

Firefighters have so far said there is no risk of gutted building collapsing, but are still working from the outside of the building.

Watch: Fire jumps from one half of building to the other within minutes

By 6:17pm, the fire appears to have spread from the western half of the building to the east, and set it alight.

Watch: First firefighters arrive on scene as all floors engulfed by flame

The first firefighters arrived at the scene of the blaze at around 5:51pm. Despite the quick arrival, the inferno had already spread to all floors of the block of flats in the posh neighbourhood of Campanar.

Watch: Fire spread to ninth floor within minutes, video shows

Video that was reportedly taken at 5:40 shows that the fire spread quickly, reaching the ninth floor within just a few minutes.

Spanish insurance inspection agency APCAS previously told local media that the use of polyurethane on the facade of the building, as well as the lack of firewalls, would have contributed to the rapid spread of the blaze.

Watch: Blaze began on eight floor, new video reveals

New video has emerged that appears to show the blaze started on the eighth floor of the building, which was completed in 2008 and lies at the intersection of Maestro Rodrigo and Poeta Rafael Alberti avenues, in the north of the city.

The video shows the fire already engulfing a flat on the eighth floor at 5:37pm on Thursday afternoon.

Spanish Red Cross provides emergency counselling to 24 family members of missing people

The Spanish Red Cross has given emergency counselling to 24 relatives and friends of residents who are still missing, local media reported.

It has also provided trauma relief to 11 firefighters over the last 24 hours.

Young couple with a two-year-old and two-week old baby among those missing

A young couple with two children, one a newborn, are among the people missing following the blaze, local media has reported.

The whole family is understood to have been in a flat in the building as it caught fire.

Reports claim that the family tried to hide in the bathroom, after the blaze caught them by surprise.

The young family have not yet been named, and search teams from the police and firefighters have not yet been able to enter the damaged building.

Field hospital next to site of blaze dismantled

Emergency services have reportedly dismantled a field hospital set up on Thursday night to help victims of the blaze.

Health services, including a basic life support unit and an ambulance, will remain in the area as firefighters work to find the 14 people still missing.

Local businesses help residents of block with food and shelter

Local media reports claim that businesses near the site of the blaze made significant effort to help those affected by it.

A branch of the Mercadona supermarket chain stayed open well past its normal hours to ensure the more than 450 residents who normally live in the block of flats were able to eat and drink.

Meanwhile, the five-star Valencia Palace hotel reportedly took in 36 residents who lived in the damaged complex, after making its facilities available to victims.

Watch: Onlookers horrified as blaze consumed block of flats

Onlookers were horrified to see the building quickly get engulfed by flames

Valencia city council announces three days of mourning

Valencia’s city council has announced three days of mourning to commemorate the people who have been killed in the blaze in the Campanar neighbourhood.

Of the estimated 450 people who lived in the 138 flats of the building, four have so far been confirmed dead.

A further 14 people are still missing, though authorities have said that this is an estimate which may go up or down as firefighters investigate the site.

Spain’s PM to travel to Valencia to learn more about tragic blaze

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will travel to the site of the blaze at midday today, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

The 51-year-old leader, who heads up the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, is heading over to hear details about the deadly inferno first-hand, government sources told the paper.

Cladding contributed to rapid spread of blaze, Spanish regulator says

Spanish insurance inspection agency APCAS told local media that the use of polyurethane on the facade of the building, as well as the lack of firewalls, would have contributed to the rapid spread of the blaze.

The spread of a fatal fire in the Grenfell Tower block in London in 2017 was also blamed on the use of highly flammable external cladding.

New pictures reveal extent of damage done by inferno

Number of people missing dropped down to 14

Valencia’s mayor has today dropped the number of people missing down to 14.

Last night, it was estimated that 19 people were missing following the blaze.

But this morning, Maria Jose Catala said: ‘We have this information from relatives who are contacting us and saying they can’t locate their loved ones.

‘We know there are foreigners and the information we have is likely to change during the day.

‘At the moment we know there are 14 people who are unaccounted for but we know that process is variable and there are people who are foreigners who were spending a few days in Valencia and that can make things more complicated.

‘Until we can enter the building, we won’t know the true situation.’

Asked if the foreigners staying there could have been renting holiday let-style apartments for just a few days, the mayoress replied: ‘It’s possible.’

No risk of building collapsing for now, emergency services claim

Emergency services have today claimed there is no risk of the building that was engulfed in flames last night collapsing.

But Jorge Suarez, deputy head of emergency services in the Valencia region, said that firefighters were still working on the structure from outside.

Foreign nationals lived in Valencia apartment block engulfed by fire

A representative for the government of the region of Valencia, Pilar Bernabe, said that estimates of the number of people who are currently missing will not be accurate, as the building had many flats ‘in which there were people of foreign nationality, whose location is more difficult to pinpoint.’

At least four killed in Valencia block fire, authorities say

At least four people were killed overnight in a fire that engulfed an apartment building in Valencia in eastern Spain, with authorities fearing that 19 more bodies may be found over the coming hours.

TOPSHOT - A huge fire rages through a multistorey residential block in Valencia on February 22, 2024. Spanish firefighters were battling a huge fire raging through a multistorey residential block in the eastern port city of Valencia today, the emergency services said. Flames and vast clouds of black smoke engulfed the building, with 22 teams of firefighters battling high winds to tackle the blaze, the 112 emergency services said. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the emergency services said seven people had been lightly injured: a minor, three adults and three firefighters, most of them suffering from smoke inhalation. (Photo by Jose Jordan / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)





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