The incident occurred in Calle Virgen de la Paz on Sunday. Video: Atlas

Holy Week image affected by fire in Vélez-Málaga is 80% damaged, but 'repairable'

The investigation into the incident suggests that the fire started just after the float had stopped for a break and as it tried to avoid an electricity cable

Eugenio Cabezas

Tuesday, 4 April 2023


The image of the Virgen del Rocío that caught fire on Palm Sunday in Vélez-Málaga has suffered 80 per cent damage to its arms and face, as well as to the mantle and other items, but it is "repairable" according to the La Pollinica brotherhood.

The diagnosis comes after seeking advice from local image-maker Israel Cornejo, following the incident on Sunday when a candle apparently fell from its candlestick and set fire to the cloth on the wooden carving, which was made in 1980.

The procession had been on the street for just half an hour when the incident occurred in Calle Virgen de la Paz. The two floats were returned to the San Francisco market as members of the brotherhood and onlookers were visibly shaken by the dramatic events.

Town hall to help pay for repairs

Vélez-Málaga town hall has announced that it will help with the costs of repairing work needed to the image. Mayor Antonio Moreno Ferrer said that the town hall had agreed "to collaborate with the brothers and sisters of this brotherhood once the damage to the image, the mantle and the other ornamental elements of the float have been assessed by experts", they said in a statement.

According to the bipartite government team of PSOE and GIPMTM, "we support our 19 local brotherhoods and the Association of Brotherhoods throughout the year and we believe it is important and necessary to collaborate in a special and extraordinary way with Pollinica and Rocío in these difficult times they are going through and in support of maintaining and conserving the rich historical and cultural heritage of our Holy Week and our city".

The fire was quickly extinguished thanks to the rapid intervention of members of the brotherhood, local police officers and fire extinguishers.

Two brothers aged 19 and 24, Jesús and Francisco, were injured and were attended to by ambulance staff. One of the men was taken to Malaga’s Regional hospital suffering from minor burns to his hands. They have declined to speak to the media about the events.

The image, which is 1.7 metres high, is at the Holy Week museum in Vélez-Málaga, waiting to be transferred to a workshop in Seville after Easter Week, where it will be repaired.

President of Vélez-Málaga’s association of Holy Week brotherhoods, Francisco Javier García del Corral, said that the other brotherhoods have offered support to La Pollinica “in these difficult moments”. He went on to say, "It is a shame what has happened, but the important thing is that the image can be restored and that the men have not suffered serious injuries.”

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