Expatica news

Madrid still on alert after electrical blaze

16 July 2004

MADRID — At least 160 people are still unable to return to their homes as a result of the fire that enveloped a busy area of Madrid, firefighters said Friday.

Firefighters found still-smouldering material in buildings near the Union Fenosa electricity substation where the blaze – whose cause is still now known – started on Thursday.

“We’ll have to wait to get into the building to find out what happened,” a Union Fenosa spokesman said, noting the evidence points to an electrical transformer.

Meanwhile, near the scene of the fire which might have threatened the Prado and other museums at the heart of the Spanish capital, authorities have set up 322 containers loaded with 250-litre (66-gallon) bags of potable water for distribution among residents.

Firefighters are stationed at the power substation, which is in a shambles, to prevent the fire from starting up again.

Several tonnes of a highly flammable refrigerant, used to keep the plant at a certain temperature, were stored at the facility and have not been removed.

A Madrid fire department spokesman said that within a few hours firefighters will escort nearby residents into their homes to pick up belongings.

The City of Madrid’s social service department is assisting people being housed at several hotels by setting up a cafeteria for them and providing them with clothes and other goods.

Though the charred buildings will take three days to cool completely, Madrid is returning to normal following a long day of traffic jams and confusion sparked by the blaze.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news