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Spain |  Valencia reflects after deadly building fire

Spain | Valencia reflects after deadly building fire

(Valencia) – In shock since the fire that engulfed an apartment building on Thursday, the Spanish city of Valencia (east) on Saturday paid tribute to the victims of this tragedy that claimed the lives of ten people and shook the country.

The authorities, who found a tenth body under the rubble on Saturday, are continuing their search but do not expect to find any other victims.

“There are no words to describe the pain that this city feels now. “All Valencians are united in pain,” declared the mayor of Spain’s third city, María José Catala, before holding a five-minute silence in front of City Hall.

Photography by José Jordaan, AFP

Valencia Mayor María José Catala hugs a resident of the building destroyed by the fire.

Hundreds of people gathered to attend the tribute, some burst into tears, while others wore dark glasses. Their faces marked with exhaustion and shock, relatives of the victims were supported by elected officials.

“It's terrible,” Concha Lopez, a 60-year-old employee of a printing company who lives in the neighborhood where the building caught fire, told AFP.

“Losing everything this way and finding yourself on the street. There are no words, no one should go through this,” said Adrian Sobrino Moral, a 33-year-old worker.

This fire, one of the most tragic fires in Spain in recent years, has shocked the country and left hundreds of people homeless.

“In a few minutes, we lost everything. Now I have nothing left except what I am wearing,” laments Jose Carlos Perez, 53 years old.

“I have nothing left and I have to start all over again,” sums up the retired banker, who was at home in his apartment on the 12th floor when the fire broke out.

Photography by Eva Manez – Reuters

The residents of Valencia and the authorities moved to help the affected residents. Aid was announced while an army of volunteers distributed clothes, shoes, toys, hygiene products, etc.

There are no other victims a priori

The disaster, which broke out Thursday around 5:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. ET) on a middle floor, spread at lightning speed throughout this fourteen-story, 138-apartment building.

On Saturday, a tenth body was found under the rubble of the building.

Photography by José Jordaan, AFP

“An inspection conducted by the National Police scientific team this morning resulted in the location of the new body […] The Valencia Region Prefecture announced on the social media network X that the total number of bodies found inside the building was ten.

Speaking to the press, the governor of the region, Pilar Bernabe, for her part, indicated that the search would continue, but the number of bodies found corresponded in advance to the number of missing people.

She added: “Inspections will continue as long as necessary, until we comb the entire building, but today I think we can say that the number of victims found corresponds to the number of people whose locations have not been determined.”

Enrique Gisbert, Valencia's fire chief, added: “We don't think we will find any other victims in principle.”

Therefore, the toll of the fire will be less serious than the authorities initially feared.

On Friday morning, when the initial toll of this disaster was four dead, Pilar Bernabe actually reported that there were 14 missing. The city mayor spoke of 9 to 15 missing people.

The authorities will now be able to begin work to identify the victims who were found. “This will be a complex task that we will have to decide [les victimes] “With DNA tests,” Pilar Bernabe said.

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