The highrise fire in Valencia on Thursday February 22, 2024. Photo by Emergèncias 112CV, on X. https://twitter.com/GVA112/status/1760715417956340020?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1760715417956340020%7Ctwgr%5E886d25f47a10f22d65f12b4be9ab7598ac651d65%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Felpais.com%2Fespana%2Fcomunidad-valenciana%2F2024-02-22%2Fel-fuego-devora-un-edificio-de-viviendas-en-valencia.htmls
23 Feb 2024

Highrise which claimed 10 lives and injured several firefighters in fire had Grenfell synthetic type cladding


Experts tell the Spanish newspaper El Mundo that the facade of the highrise building was insulated with polyurethane, a plastic material that can be flammable and was behind the catastrophic fire in Grenfell Tower in London in 2017. 

On Friday the death toll rises from Thursday evening's heavy fire in an apartment building in Valencia, Spain is now ten dead. 15 are injured, including several firefighters.

The 14-storey building in the Campanar district of Valencia was involved in a fire on Thursday. The fire started around 17:20 on Thursday afternoon on the fourth floor. In just half an hour, the flames had engulfed the entire building, reports The Spanish newspaper El Pais. 

Read more in El Pais

El Pais also has an interesting illustration showing the fire spread, both upwards, downwards and sideways to the southwest, possibly due to wind conditions. 

Emergency services had tried saving people by pacing an inflatable mattress on the ground, but falling debris destroyed it. 

Thursday's strong winds are said to have worsened the spread of the fire in the house and the authorities urged residents of nearby buildings to leave their homes due to the risk of spread. 

Valencia highrise fireEl Pais also writes  that the fire "spread at a dizzying speed through the aluminum plates of the façade, coated with polyurethane, a highly flammable material", as confirmed by Esther Puchades, vice president of the College of Industrial Technical Engineers of Valencia (Cogitival), who carried out an expert report. 

David Higuera, technical engineer and expert in building installations, says to the newspaper that the material used in the façade has been the cause of the rapid spread of the fire:  

"These are aluminum plates with a synthetic insulator that is “very combustible... They have very good thermal behavior against heat and cold, but these synthetic foams are very combustible,” he says.

According to the newspaper, residents were standing on their balconies in the burning high-rise waiting for help. The firefighters urged them to put damp rags in the door cracks. In total, the building had 138 homes and housed approximately 450 residents.

16 fire engines were reportedly on site to try to extinguish the fire. The Spanish Ministry of Defense also called in the military from the capital Madrid to help with the extinguishing work. Several firefighters were injured in the violent fire. 

The Prime Minister: "Dismayed" The Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, writes in a post on X that he is "dismayed by the terrible fire" and that he has spoken with the mayor of Valencia and offered all the help that may be needed. "I want to express my support for all those affected and gratitude to the rescue personnel," he writes.

Photo Credit: Photo by Emergèncias 112CV, on X.