New clues point to arson at Madrid skyscraper

23rd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

23 February 2005, MADRID-A secret entry door and videotaped images of several people inside a landmark Madrid skyscraper as it burned now suggest arsonists set fire to the Windsor building.

23 February 2005

MADRID-A secret entry door and videotaped images of several people inside a landmark Madrid skyscraper as it burned now suggest arsonists set fire to the Windsor building.

The blaze was originally attributed to a short-circuit, but new clues have led investigators to believe the fire may have been an act of arson.

The 31-story Windsor, an emblematic structure of the modern part of this capital, was devoured by flames early on 12 February in a spectacular blaze that firefighters could not bring under control.

Six days after the fire, television stations broadcast an amateur video shot by a resident of the area in which several people can be seen moving about the 16th floor as the flames advanced, some three hours after the structure was evacuated.

Another local resident told local media that she too saw people moving around inside the building as it burned, and that they turned on, then off, the lights of some offices.

Firefighting experts told local media that anyone who was in the building more than a few minutes after it caught fire would have needed an asbestos suit, otherwise they would have not been able to stand the high temperatures.

The daily ABC quoted investigators as saying the images appear to depict individuals wearing helmets, and that at least one of the silhouetted figures appears to be talking into a hand-held radio.

Two other papers, El Mundo and La Razón, report in Tuesday's editions that a secret passage into and out of the building has been discovered.

The door appeared to have been forced open.

"The discovery of this secret door indicates that someone could have entered and exited the building without being seen the night the flames devoured it," said La Razon.

The Tele 5 television station claimed investigators now believe the fire was probably started deliberately.

Under the headline 'The Mystery of the Windsor Grows' another paper published photographs showing two separate blazes in the building, one four floors below the other.

Even before the new information came to light, some experts had noted that the course of the blaze - from higher to lower floors - was unusual.

They also remarked on the rapid progress of the flames between floors.

Further investigation into the cause of the fire will be carried out once the charred structure is dismantled.

Huge cranes have been set up around the blackened superstructure to begin taking it apart, as engineers said it was in danger of collapsing.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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