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At 2am this Wednesday morning, Catalan firefighters located, under the rubble, the first fatality from the partial collapse of a block of flats at number 9 of Carrer del Canigó, in the metropolitan city of Badalona, just north-east of Barcelona. Later, by daylight, the rescue specialists, with the collaboration of the canine team, managed to locate two other fatalities. It was what had been feared, and the three bodies were those of the three residents who had been missing after the accident on Tuesday at around 10:30am, in which one vertical segment of the building - from the rooftop down to ground level - collapsed for reasons that are still unknown. Those who died were, from one household, the solo mother of two girls; from a second affected flat, a young father; and from a third apartment, a woman in her 50s.

Timing may have averted a greater tragedy

Despite the grim facts, the timing of the collapse may have prevented the tragedy from being still greater. The younger woman who died was foreign and the only relative of her two daughters, who were at school at the time of the events. Yesterday, the welfare services of the Generalitat took the two girls into care. A second person whose body was recovered this morning was a man in his 30s, who had just become a father. The baby and the mother, however, were not in the block at the time of the accident; they had gone out only ten minutes before the tragedy. The third fatality located by the rescue team was a woman, between 50 and 60 years old. The three deceased people were neighbours, living on different floors. After the finding of the bodies this morning, which was a complex task due to the precarious situation of the building, the Mossos d'Esquadra police set about making a full judicial identification of the three victims.

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Overhead view of the section of the building that collapsed, affecting flats from the rooftop to the ground floor / Photo: Firefighters.


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Exterior view of the part of the building that collapsed, in Carrer de Canigó, Badalona / Lorena Sopêna

Residents living in the intact parts of the affected building will not be able to enter their homes until municipal technicians can carry out a structural assessment of the building. All the residents of the building slept in friends' or relatives' homes, or in hotels on Tuesday night, although the nearby Raval senior citizens' residential home had been made available for anyone who needed a place to stay. 

Three days of mourning in Badalona

The mayor of Badalona, Xavier Garcia Albiol, announced that the city would decree three days of mourning to express condolence at the tragic death of these three residents. The decree includes the suspension of all events scheduled by Badalona city council during the next three days. A gathering outside the city council this afternoon observed five minutes of silence.


The mayor thanked the fire fighters and other emergency services for their work. As for the reasons for the collapse, neither the fire teams nor the city council has announced any progress in determining the causes, and an investigation is pending. Albiol reiterated that there is no file or incident listed in relation to the property and noted that residents had told him that it had passed a technical inspection this January.