A DAY of mourning and a minute’s silence were held in Peñiscola on Friday out of respect for the two people who died in the tragic three-storey apartment block collapse on Wednesday.
A woman of Cuban origin was killed in the accident along with the 14-year-old son of her partner. Her partner survived unhurt but the woman’s 26-year-old son was pulled out of the rubble alive and taken to intensive care at Vinaròs Hospital. On Friday his condition had improved enough to be moved from the ICU to a ward.
Peñiscola mayor, Andrés Martínez, spoke at the act on Friday and thanked emergency services for their tireless rescue work, as well as the townspeople who had brought food and drink for those involved in the rescue effort, and the neighbours who had given shelter to the holidaymakers who had been left with nowhere to go.
The cause of the collapse, which destroyed 18 of the 55 apartments, is still unknown but the mayor assured the town that there would be “an investigation to find out what happened.”
He continued: “With the help of the Valencian and Spanish governments we are going to get to the bottom of this. The specialists have been working right from the start with the remains of the building and the central staircase, which is the part at risk of falling, to see which areas are safe to work on.”
He explained that the work would begin with hundreds of lorries clearing away the debris of the 18 apartments and the report to find out what caused the collapse will be done, but he warned that “finding out what happened could take weeks or even months.”
He said many of the people who had been left ‘homeless’, had returned to their own towns and cities or would do so soon, as they had been staying in the apartments on holiday, but meanwhile they could stay in the town’s hotels.
However, he highlighted the case of the owner of the affected apartment who had come out of the accident unharmed but that he had lost “his home, his partner and his son” and was receiving psychological help from social services as well as financial aid from the town council and the regional government given that it had been his only home.