Disasters & Accidents

5 dead, 35 injured in Buenos Aires apartment building fire

Buenos Aires, Jun 23 (EFE).- A fire that broke out Thursday in an apartment building in the Recoleta district of Buenos Aires took the lives of five people and injured 35.

The dead included three children and two women, as confirmed to media outlets by the head of the Emergency Medical Attention System (SAME), Alberto Crescenti, near the building, where 35 people were transferred to various hospitals.

The fatalities were all members of the same Jewish family, according to sources within the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA), which on the social networks expressed its condolences to the victims’ loved ones.

One of the injured is a 52-year-old man who was placed on a ventilator and is in guarded medical condition, Crescenti added.

The fire broke out in an apartment on the seventh floor of the 14-story building, quickly spreading to the floor above, the assistant fire chief for Buenos Aires, Pablo Giardina, told reporters.

Images of the blaze, which began about 5:50 am, show flames on the balcony of the seventh-floor apartment, which occupied the entire floor, along with smoke and fire inside the unit.

Due to its magnitude, firefighters used several firehoses simultaneously along with an aerial water lifter to bring the fire under control and then extinguish it. A total of eight firefighting units, a contingent of local police and 22 SAME ambulances were deployed to deal with the fire and evacuating the victims.

The cause of the fire is still not known.

Although the five people who died were rescued from the burning apartment alive, they were unconscious and died en route to the hospital from smoke inhalation and other injuries, Giardina said.

Presidential spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti, at a press conference, expressed “the sorrow of the national government over the fire,” adding that the administration sent its “condolences to the families of the victims” and said it would “cooperate” with the Buenos Aires government and the families to “be able to get through this tragic situation.”

Earlier, Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta had gone to the scene of the fire to convey his condolences to the families and acknowledge the city emergency workers who provided assistance.

“We’re working in coordination with the Jewish community of the city of Buenos Aires, which has been on the scene since the very first moments,” Rodriguez Larreta added.

EFE vd/rgm/cpy/bp

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