Guard dies in arson attack at San Sebastian tax office

13th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 June 2005, MADRID – An arrest warrant was issued on Monday for a security guard after a second guard died in a fire at a San Sebastian tax office.

13 June 2005

MADRID – An arrest warrant was issued on Monday for a security guard after a second guard died in a fire at a San Sebastian tax office.

The blaze at the 15-storey skyscraper in the Guipuzcoa neighbourhood broke out at 10.50pm on Sunday evening.

At a press conference the following morning, Guipuzcoa’s deputy general Joxe Joan Gonzalez de Txabarri ruled out a terrorist attack, saying the fire seemed to be the work of amateur arsonists.

He said initially the fire, which had been started in several points in the building, burned mainly in the garage and underground floors.

It was not until 4am that firefighters came across the body of one of the security guards who had been on duty on Sunday night.

He was found half-naked in the area where the guards sat to watch the building’s security cameras.

Txabarri said that there was clear evidence of arson, since material had been destroyed prior to the fire starting and security cameras and alarms had been tampered with from inside the building.

At 10.30am on Monday, firefighters thought the blaze was under control when they discovered the seventh floor – where the offices of the tax directors are located - was also on fire. The emergency forces were still unsure whether the fire had spread from another area of the building or whether the blaze was one which they hadn’t detected earlier on.

On Monday afternoon, firefighters were still waiting to remove the guard’s body from the building to carry out an autopsy which Txabarri said could yield "relevant information" to the investigation. He said the name of the worker was still unknown, as is the identity of the other guard who is missing and wanted for questioning by police.

Though the fire was extinguished by the afternoon, firefighters remained in the building to ensure the flames did not relight and the area remained cordoned off.

Neighbours told police they had not seen the two security guards carrying out their usual checks on Sunday night and the police say the guards changed their shift patterns without the knowledge of their bosses.

Txabarri insisted that San Sebastian taxpayers had nothing to fear over the "privacy and security" of the information which was contained at the tax office. The security of the information is "fully guaranteed" and there would be copies of any documents destroyed in the fire.

The tax authorities have already introduced some emergency measures to ensure that tax declarations can be made in the remaining fortnight when this year’s fiscal deadline closes.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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