12 Mar, 2024 @ 12:30
2 mins read

Experts call for new building safety measures in Spain following deadly Valencia fire

EXPERTS are calling on Spanish authorities to modernise the country’s building regulations following the deadly apartment block blaze in Valencia that left 10 dead.

An investigation by the Olive Press revealed that the apartment complex gutted by the inferno may have been clad with an aluminium composite material (ACM) banned in the UK known as ‘Larson PE’.

This type of cladding, containing a highly flammable polyethylene core, would be banned for use in the UK after fire safety regulations were tightened following the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster which killed 79.

The use of this type of cladding may have exacerbated the spread of the flames, which rapidly engulfed the building in the Nou Campanar neighbourhood of Valencia.

The huge fire destroyed two apartments that housed over 450 people.

The fire claimed 10 lives, including those of a newly-married couple and their two-week old baby.

Now, a leading fire safety organisation is urging the Spanish government to follow the UK’s precedent and update its building regulations in order to prevent a repeat of last month’s tragedy.

Paul Trew, technical director at the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE), said in a statement: “The tower block fire is shockingly reminiscent of the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017, leaving us grappling with questions about fire safety, building design, and risk assessment”.

“Experts point to cladding as a critical factor”, added the statement, noting “its highly flammable nature which was not fully realised when construction of the tower block in Campanar was finalised in 2009”.

The IFE, a global professional membership body for those in the fire sector that seek to increase their knowledge, professional recognition and understanding through a global discourse, have provided four recommendations for mitigation fire risks associated with the use of highly flammable cladding.

Faulty kitchen appliance is identified as cause of deadly Valencia fire in Spain that killed 10 people
The apartment block following the blaze. Credit: Cordon Press

These include: “removal and replacement of the cladding with non-combustible materials; installation of additional fire barriers or suppression systems; enhanced fire detection and alarm systems; implementation of differing evacuation procedures where cladding of a flammable nature is taken into account”. 

Managed for fire professionals by fire professionals, the organisation seeks to promote, encourage and improve the science, practice and professionalism of fire engineering, acting as a beacon of established expertise and guiding the way to a fire safe future.

The initial source of the deadly blaze was a faulty kitchen appliance in an eighth floor apartment, it has emerged.

The fire broke out on February 22 at 5.30pm, with high winds and dry conditions helping to spread the flames across the adjoining apartment blocks.

The Policia Nacional have ruled out any criminality with the investigating court agreeing to end its enquiries.

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Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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