Three families refuse to leave ‘El Barco’ building at risk of collapsing

Technical reports point out residential building is a threat to safety

The 'El Barco' residential building
The 'El Barco' residential building / Gemma Sánchez
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Esplugues de Llobregat

March 26, 2024 07:00 PM

Technical reports have found that residential building ‘El Barco’ in Esplugues de Llobregat, just outside Barcelona, is on the verge of collapsing. The building was declared in a state of ruin on Monday and residents were urged to evacuate immediatly. 

Six families initially refused, and as of Tuesday at noon there are still three families remaining inside the building. Social Services have been mediating all day trying to convince these families to leave the building.  

According to the city council they have cut of their gas supply and are currently requesting other companies to cut of water and electricity. Local authorities have closed off the area around the building in case an intervention is necessary. 

“This is a situation that cannot be maintained,” warned the local councilor for urban planning. He also explained that the Esplugues council has contacted courts in the event that families persist and they need to be evicted. 

The news comes almost two months after a residential building in Badalona collapsed, killing three people. Since then, six buildings nearby have been evacuated. 


Procedures to strengthen the building have started that so evacuated residents can go inside to gather their belongings by the weekend.  

The council has some homes lined up to accommodate the evacuated residents, with the most vulnerable families being housed first. 

‘El Barco’ was home to more than a hundred people. Out of the 38 families registered there ten have asked for temporary emergency housing

The building was supposed to be demolished within the coming years, giving local auythorities enough time to finish work on social apartments being built in different areas of Esplugues. With this new development, ‘El Barco’ is set to be demolished by the end of June. 

Angry residents 

The evicted residents voiced their displeasure with the way the crisis is being handled.  

One of them, Ronny Guzmán criticized the council for notifying residents through a phone call in the middle of a workday. The emergency solution for the first 48 hours is for the residents to stay in a hostel in Barcelona’s Poblenou neighborhood which they must stay out ofbetween the hours of 10 am and 7 pm. “What am I supposed to do with my children during that time?” Guzmán asked. 

Some of those affected, alongside a group of protesters, went to the social services office near ‘El Barco’ to protest on Tuesday. At that time, officials were holding meetings with those evicted to deal with each individual case.