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Pope expresses closeness to those affected by fire in Spain


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 02/23/24

A fire in a 14-story apartment building in Valencia, Spain, spread quickly until the whole complex was destroyed. At least 9 people died, but some are still unaccounted for.

Pope Francis assured his “spiritual closeness” to all those affected by the “terrible fire” that destroyed an apartment building in Valencia (Spain) on February 22, 2024. In a telegram sent by the Vatican on February 23, the Pontiff encouraged firefighters’ and rescue workers’ efforts. The death toll has risen to nine people so far.

“The Holy Father is closely following the news,” said the telegram, signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin. “While commending the souls of the deceased to divine mercy, [the Pope] assures the people of Valencia and all the families of those affected of his spiritual closeness, and prays to the Lord to grant them strength in this moment of pain.” 

In the telegram, addressed to the Archbishop of Valencia, Enrique Benavent Vidal, the Pontiff also invoked the intercession of Our Lady of the Forsaken and her husband St. Joseph, the two patron saints of the city, to help the victims and rescue workers. He also sent his apostolic blessing to all the inhabitants of Valencia. 

On Thursday evening, a fire broke out in an apartment high-rise in a residential area of the city. The entire building was quickly engulfed in flames due to strong winds, and firefighters worked throughout the night. Some reports are indicating that the cladding on the building may have been highly flammable and contributed to the fire spreading so quickly.

The official death toll is at nine people (earlier reports said 10), with 14 injured (including 6 firefighters) and around 14 still missing. Among the dead is a family, including the mom and dad, a toddler and a newborn.

Natural or Human DisastersPope FrancisSpainVatican
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