TWO PEOPLE have died in a Madrid restaurant after a waiter flambeed a pizza dish, accidentally setting alight plastic plants that were hanging on the walls and ceiling.

One of the dead was the waiter- named as Jay Robles who moved to Madrid from Benidorm three years ago to further his musical career- and the other was a customer.

One person was in a critical condition in hospital and five others were seriously hurt, with six people suffering minor injuries.

Firefighters arriving at the Burro Canaglia restaurant the capital’s Salamanca district on Friday found a wall of flames blocking the restaurant.

Speaking outside the premises, the mayor said the fire appeared to have been sparked when Robles flambeed a pizza and the flames caught plastic flowers decorating the ceiling and columns of the establishment, which contained about 30 diners and staff members at the time.

Witnesses told El País that the waiter poured alcohol over the dish and set it alight.

The waiter ‘had the plate in flames in one hand and the blowtorch in the other. He passed by a column with plants round it and in a matter of seconds it burned everything’, a diner said.

Fire crews were able to respond quickly as their station was only a few hundred metres from the restaurant, the mayor said.

“It was very lucky,” he said. “The fire was put out less than 10 minutes after the alarm was raised.”

The Madrid fire chief, Carlos Marin, said people had run to the fire station to alert the fire crew.

If they’d taken another four or five minutes, there would have been more victims because of the flames and smoke,” the mayor added.


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