Three residents of the collapsed five-story building in Badalona remain untraceable twelve hours after the floor slab of the attic roof of the apartment block, located at number 9 Canigó Street, collapsed. As reported by sub-inspector Josep Manel Escudero, head of intervention, the Mossos d’Esquadra and the Urban Police have not been able to locate the three people registered at that address, so a search has begun among the rubble.
The dogs from the Canine Search Group entered early this afternoon and after a first inspection they explained, for now, the result has been negative, and that as the emergency department removes more debris, the animals will be more effective when it comes to locating possible human presence. “If there is a human odor, it will mark it and make us be more selective,” said the sub-inspector, who also does not know the causes of why the building collapsed.
“All hypotheses of its whereabouts are open,” while 18 Firefighters crews are working to remove the between 60 and 90 cubic meters of debris accumulated inside the building. “We are not sure if they may be inside or not,” said Escudero, who also added that the work to remove debris is manual, it will be done “piece by piece, removing it through the façade until we reach the ground floor.” “and they estimate that it will take about 24 hours to remove them all.
Although the emergency services have not confirmed that the three people are buried, other sources have indicated that the hypothesis that the missing people, a man and a woman between 30 and 40 years old, and another between 50 and 60, are trapped in the building. The Firefighters have explained that the canine unit has already carried out a first inspection, although so far the result has been negative, and that as the emergency department removes more debris, the animals will be more effective in locating possible human presence.
By mid-afternoon, the people residing in the blocks near the collapsed building were able to return home, and the Firefighters have assisted the operators of the supply companies who are working to restore the cut services. Civil Protection of the Generalitat is evaluating whether the 40 residents living in the flats that have not been collapsed in the affected block will be able to return home or will have to relocate.
In statements to the media, the mayor of the city, Xavier García Albiol, explained that the City Council is not aware of any file for works on the site and that the neighbors have told him that the building passed a technical inspection a month ago. He has also assured that the three missing people “apparently are not from the same apartment or the same family”, but rather were people who lived in different properties.
“We are making all the information available for the investigation,” said the mayor, who also asked that “we not start speculating.” In addition, the council will study whether preventive inspections should be carried out in the adjacent buildings – which have been vacated for a few hours – because “it is the same type of construction.”
Regarding care for those affected, he expressed that the city council has “prepared a service for those people who have nowhere to go to sleep”, and that they will give them support until there is an adequate solution. “We have a minimum of two nights to serve these families, but if it has to be more nights before finding a housing solution, from the city council we will do what is reasonable, within common sense and our possibilities,” he indicated.
The Generalitat Firefighters received notification of the sinking at around 10:35 a.m. and 45 emergency personnel are working in the area, as well as several units of the Medical Emergency System (SEM), the Mossos d’Esquadra and the the Badalona Urban Guard.
Civil Protection maintains the Procicat emergency plan on pre-alert and three territorial operations technicians remain on site to monitor the emergency. The Creu Roja has also brought supplies for the evacuees, who have been welcomed at the Casal d’Avis Raval in Badalona, in addition to the staff of the Barcelona Emergency and Social Emergencies Center to care for the evicted.