A view of the affected building. / EFE

Fuengirola fire deaths caused by fumes

Initial investigations indicate the deaths of two men were caused by gas inhalation while they were trying to escape down the stairs in their building

E. PRESS

According to initial investigations, the deaths of two men in a fire in Fuengirola on Monday 9 January were caused by inhaling gas fumes while they were trying to escape down the stairs from the fire that had broken out on the floor below their home.

The fire started at around 1.10pm hours in a flat on the fifth floor of a building on Avenida Miramar. The victims were a 42-year-old man and his father, 67. Five others were injured, also due to smoke inhalation, with two of them treated at the scene on Monday and three others transferred to the Hospital Costa del Sol. On Tuesday two of them remained in a serious but stable condition in intensive care. One of the three was discharged on Tuesday.

The building located on Avenida Miramar remains evacuated pending a report by the council and firefighters, said José Julián Bueno, head of the Fuengirola fire brigade, at a press conference on Tuesday. Bueno said that the cause of the fire, which originated inside a flat on the fifth floor, is unknown and the National Police investigation is ongoing.

Bueno said that following calls to the 112 emergency number firefighters, health services, national and local police, Guardia Civil and Civil Protection units were mobilised.

He added that when the first two fire engines arrived the fire was "fully developed", progressing across the facade and interior, with a "high thermal load", so the situation was "complicated". The flames, which originated on the fifth floor, had already affected the sixth floor on the outside and, on the inside, it was "almost impossible to access the fourth floor due to the high temperatures".

The Fuengirola fire chief issued a reminder of the importance of staying indoors in the event of a fire like this one. "Unless your house is on fire, the safest place is inside your home. The doors stop the flames for a long time and the entry of smoke can be stopped by covering the cracks with any damp cloth.”

Bueno warned that trying to get out of a building via the stairs "is the worst solution; you are risking your life". He added that “most of the deaths that occur in fires are due to smoke inhalation" and stressed the importance of staying at home, calling 112 and going to the place furthest away from the fire and with access to the outside.

Three official days of morning in Fuengirola began on Tuesday 10 January.