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Image of the Virgen del Rocío burning in Vélez-Málaga, this Palm Sunday, SUR

This is the shocking moment a candle set alight a Palm Sunday procession in Malaga province

Two people were injured while trying to put out the flames after the float carrying the image of the Virgen del Rocío caught fire in Vélez-Málaga

Eugenio Cabezas

Vélez-Málaga

Sunday, 2 April 2023, 19:57

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The thousands of people who were enjoying the Palm Sunday procession of La Pollinica and the Virgen del Rocío in Vélez-Málaga had an enormous scare this afternoon, 2 April. A candle fell from its holder on one of the floats, lit the mantle and burned the image of the Virgen. The procession had barely lasted an hour, steadily making its way through the streets of the capital of the Axarquía, when the incident happened in Calle Virgen de la Paz.

Videos of the burning float and several members of the brotherhood trying to put out the flames with their hands quickly spread through social media networks. After a tense 30 seconds or so, accompanied by screams, the fire was put out with the help of a fire extinguisher provided by the Local Police. As a result of the incident, two members of the brotherhood suffered burns on their hands of varying degrees.

One of them was transferred to the Hospital Comarcal de la Axarquía, while the other was treated by a Red Cross ambulance team. The damage to the image of the Virgen del Rocío was described as significant. The group of brotherhoods decided to immediately suspend the procession that kicked off Holy Week in Vélez-Málaga.

The two floats, La Pollinica and the burned one of the Virgen del Rocío, were quickly returned to the San Francisco area. Members of the brotherhood are now assessing the damage to the Virgen, which has been taken down from the float to evaluate it in detail. On the way the Virgen was covered with a white sheet.

Vélez-Málaga town hall has issued a statement in which they said "they deeply regretted the damage the Virgen del Rocío has suffered."

"We show all our support and affection to the brothers and sisters of the Pollinica and Rocío brotherhood", stated the council while stressing that "luckily the fire was put out thanks to the quick reaction of members of the brotherhood and with the help of a fire extinguisher from a Local Police patrol".

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