Two dead as fire ravages Spanish warehouse housing migrants

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Badalona (Spain) (AFP)

A fire has ravaged a warehouse occupied by migrants near Barcelona, ​​killing at least two people and injuring 19, including several who jumped from the building to escape the flames, Spanish officials said Thursday.

The fire broke out around 9:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Wednesday in an industrial area in Badalona, ​​a suburb of Barcelona, ​​where up to 200 migrants were living in squalid conditions, according to Badalona town hall.

Firefighters said they had so far found two bodies but could not rule out more deaths as they were unable to enter the three-story building which has been occupied by squatters since. years.

The blaze was brought under control, but firefighters were working to stabilize the structure of the warehouse to enter safely and search for anyone who might be trapped inside, Fire Chief David Borrell told the journalists at the scene.

“We are trying to determine if there is a sign that there are more people or not,” he said.

At least 19 people were injured, seven of them seriously, the Catalonia Civil Protection Agency said in a tweet.

Some people were injured after they jumped from the building, said regional health minister Alba Verges.

The mayor of Badalona, ​​Xavier Garcia Albiol, said authorities had counted 60 people “but many escaped through the back windows and fled. Maybe more than a hundred people have left ”.

Moises, a Moroccan who lived in the warehouse told La Vanguardia daily that the fire was started by a candle, but Catalonia’s regional interior minister, Miquel Samper, said authorities were still investigating the cause of the fire.

Catalonia’s acting regional chief Pere Aragones said housing assistance would be offered to those living in the warehouse.

“This is a tragedy on top of the economic misery that unfortunately many of those affected have been confronted with,” he said in an interview with Spanish public television TVE.

Most residents are believed to be from sub-Saharan Africa and made a living from selling goods on the streets or collecting scrap metal.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he was following with concern the news of “the tragic fire in Badalona”.

“I am deeply sorry for the loss of human life and I am grateful for the excellent work of the emergency services, which saved dozens of people from the flames,” he said in a tweet.

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