Three dead and at least five injured in apartment fire in Barcelona
Overloading of battery chargers illegally installed could have been the cause according to firefighters
Three people have died and at least one has been seriously injured in a fire in a building in the neighbourhood of Barceloneta, in Barcelona.
The Catalan police, who received notice of the incident at six in the morning, have opened an investigation to clarify the cause of the fire.
The fire, which has been attended to by 10 fire brigades in Barcelona, started at around 6 am on Friday morning. Teams from the local police, the emergency health units have also been at the scene.
The fire could have been caused by an overload of an electrical installation of the apartment, which was also illegally installed.
According to the head of the Barcelona Fire Brigade, Rafael Álvarez, after putting out the flames, they saw that "there were a lot of motorcycle batteries charging under the beds."
The batteries - which are suspected to be of motorized rickshaw vehicles for tourists - may have overheated the circuit and, when the light was off, no safety system blew the fuse. In addition, the apartment was "very small" according to the fire department itself.
As Álvarez explained, firefighters received a call at 5:58 am warning of a fire on the ground floor. At 6:05 the crews arrived and saw "many flames, an open window through which the flames came out and the door closed."
"We managed to get in by tearing down the door. There were neighbors trying to lend a hand and once inside we saw three people dead," the chief explained.
In addition to the three fatalities, occupants of the flat, a critically injured person was treated and taken to Vall d'Hebron for burns. Both he and five other minor injuries - three from burns and two from anxiety - were neighbors who tried to help.
Firefighters worked on the building and temporarily evacuated the other nearby residents, who have now been able to return to their homes. According to Álvarez, the fire did not cause structural damage to the building.
For his part, Josep Maria Soto, spokesman for the medical emergency response team, explained that the deceased and the injured had also suffered from excessive smoke inhalation due to the small size of the flat and the strength of the flames.