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Graphic | How the fire destroyed the Valencia building in an hour

2024-02-24T05:04:54.352Z

Highlights: At least 9 people have died in the fire in Valencia, Spain. The fire started in an apartment on the seventh floor of a tower block. All experts agree that the construction materials of the exterior façade were what caused the rapid spread of the flames. The wind that was blowing in the city at the time the fire broke out sneaks through an air chamber that was left in this type of construction between the covering and the wall. When the wind enters it, the façaded itself acts as a fan, which spreads the fire virulently in all directions.


Visual chronology of the fire's spread through the apartment block


17.35.

Start

Around half past five in the afternoon, a report of a fire was received in an apartment on the seventh floor of a tower block in Valencia, in the Campanar neighborhood.

Videos published on social networks show the start of the fire, which has caused the death of at least 9 people.

17.50.

Spread

In just a few minutes, the fire has not only risen to the top of the building, but also descends down the façade.

A fire that theoretically should rise, descends through the building.

Because?

“What burned was the façade cladding,” explains Antonio Roda, who was Chief of Firefighters in the Malaga consortium.

They are a pair of aluminum plates that, shaped like a sandwich, have a combustible synthetic material in the middle.

According to this hypothesis, when the material from which this coating would be made is burned, it drips and breaks off pieces.

This causes the expansion of new sources at lower heights, adds Roda, a technical architect who has studied the risks of this type of construction in the event of the spread of a fire.

18.15.

Acceleration

In less than an hour from the warning, the fire also expanded horizontally.

The wind that was blowing in the city at the time the fire broke out sneaks through an air chamber that was left in this type of construction between the covering and the wall.

The air chamber is located “the entire length and width of the building,” says Roda.

When the wind enters it, the façade itself acts as a fan, which spreads the fire virulently in all directions.

The flames jump from this façade to the adjacent block, separated by a connecting tower.

18.45.

Destruction

Barely an hour after the warning, the entire rear façade, the north one, is on fire.

The fire has turned the corner from the terrace of the apartment where the fire started.

The high temperatures on the façade warp the aluminum sheets, which even fly outside.

The fire also spread to the interior of the building.

The building ends up almost completely burning.

Giving hardly any time to react.

The building, on Friday morning. Mònica Torres

The materials

All experts agree that the construction materials of the exterior façade were what caused the rapid spread of the flames, an effect accelerated by the gusts of wind.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2024-02-24

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