Two found dead in Spain after fire ravages building occupied by squatters


Firefighters in Spain have found two bodies in an abandoned building occupied by migrants and other squatters that caught fire and partially collapsed.

Emergency responders are continuing to extinguish the flames and assess if more people are trapped inside the building in Badalona, a suburban town of 200,000 north of Barcelona.

At least 18 people were injured, including three who are in very critical condition, authorities said.

Catalonia’s acting regional chief, Pere Aragones, said 60 people have been accounted for so far, but the industrial building could had been occupied by more than 100 squatters.

Work is under way to fully extinguish the flames and stabilise the structure to safely access it and look for anyone else who might be trapped inside, Mr Aragones told Spanish public broadcaster TVE.

Local media reported that some of the squatters were African migrants who had found shelter in the abandoned building.

Mr Aragones said many occupants were believed to be in Spain without permission and had left the scene without being taken care of as soon as they escaped.

“There has been a tragedy above the economic tragedy in which many of the people already found themselves,” he told TVE.

Regional interior minister Miquel Samper said that authorities will investigate if the fire was “fortuitous or intentional”.

Most of the injured were treated for trauma after they jumped from the building to escape the flames, emergency co-ordinator Francisco Tebar told TVE.

Around 30 people were rescued from windows before the roof collapsed at various points.

The building had been occupied for at least eight years, said Xavier Garcia Albiol, the Badalona mayor, adding that the city hall had started work to empty the building after drug sales and petty thefts increased in the area during the past two years, provoking problems with neighbours.

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