Six residents of a nursing home in the Valencia region have died after a fire broke out on Tuesday night, authorities said on Wednesday.
Another 17 residents were hospitalised, with three in a serious condition, said Ximo Puig, president of the Valencia government.
Firefighters said a total of 70 residents were evacuated from the nursing home in the municipality of Moncada, just north of the city of Valencia.
Firefighter chief José Miguel Basset said that the fire appears to have started in a bedroom on the second floor.
‘There was a large number of people asking for help who were trapped by the smoke’ when firefighters arrived, he said.
Puig said that Spain’s Guardia Civil was investigating the cause of the fire and investigators think it might have started with a short-circuit in a mechanism linked to an oxygen tank.
‘The most important thing now is the recovery of those who have been injured,’ Puig said.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted that he was following ‘the tragic news from Moncada. My condolences to the families of the victims. We are watching with concern the evolution of the injured. All our support for the families and the town’.
Municipal authorities in Moncada have called for three days of mourning, with flags flying at half-mast on the town hall building. Officials called for a minute of silence at noon local time.
Spain’s nursing homes, like those in many other countries, were particularly hard-hit during the worst months of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Vídeo de les actuacions del Consorci de Bombers de València a l'incendi d'una residència de gent gran a Moncada, que ha deixat sis víctimes mortals i diversos ferits. Una trentena d'efectius de @BombersValencia van dur a terme tasques d'extinció i rescat pic.twitter.com/5SulqkACt0— Bombers Consorci VLC (@BombersValencia) January 19, 2022