THE Castellon town of Peñiscola is badly shaken after a residential block partly crumbled and collapsed at 7.30 pm yesterday (Wednesday) evening, killing a 14-year-old teenager and leaving his stepfather and grandmother trapped under the rubble.

At the time of reporting, a team of 140 fire-fighters, canine experts, sanitary personnel and other emergency rescue forces were hard at work to free the woman and search for other possible victims.

Just before 8 am this morning (Thursday), the rescue services managed to locate the body of the young man, said to be a resident in Morella who had travelled to Peñiscola to visit his mother and her partner.

Shortly before, the stepfather – aged between 20 and 30 years old – had been rescued alive from under the ruins and required emergency medical treatment after sustaining considerable head wounds and suffering from shock.

Sources close to the investigation report that the teenager’s mother was not present in the house at the time of the accident.

House collapse Peñiscola
Photo by Cordon Press

The collapse affected part of a three-storey residential block in Font Nova urbanisation. All residents in the other apartments, around 30 people from nine families, were evacuated as a precaution and housed either with relatives, neighbours or in hotels.

Although the exact causes for the accident are not yet known, the torrential rainfall that drenched Peñiscola and surrounding areas earlier this week – as reported by The Olive Press – and the state of the building are thought to be key reasons.

Peñiscola Mayor Andres Martinez visited the scene early this morning and confirmed that the block of flats dates back ‘at least to the 90s’.

Martinez also mentioned the fact that 60 litres of rain had fallen on the town in just 40 minutes on Tuesday, but insisted that it was still too early to reach any conclusions and an in-depth investigation will be required to point out the exact causes of the tragedy.  

While the mayor thanked the people of Peñiscola for kindly offering their own homes to the evacuated residents, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and several other high-ranking national and regional political representatives publicly expressed their concern and support for the victims and the rescue services.

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