Fire swept through a modern hotel in Saragossa in Spain on Thursday (July 12) leaving more than eighty people dead and another fifty injured.
GV Hotel building burning black smoke (B&W)
SV Balcony of hotel building on fire (B&W)
GV Helicopter hovering above building, body and helicopter with rescuer on winch (B&W) (3 shots)
SV Distressed women in street looking on (B&W)
GV Hotel building on fire
SV Firemen bringing bodies down ladders (2 shots)
SV Men on stretcher being carried away from scene and into ambulance. Another body put into ambulance (3 shots)
GV & SV Firemen spraying water on blaze (3 shots)
SV PAN Woman's body being carried from scene on stretcher.
SV Pull back to GV Body slumped in window
SV Policeman directing operations from street PAN fire hoses to people in balconies and top of roof
LV People on top of building pull back to SV bystanders and helpers in street.
GV Man on balcony shouting
SV Man being carried away on stretcher with ambulances leaving area (2 shots)
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Background: Fire swept through a modern hotel in Saragossa in Spain on Thursday (July 12) leaving more than eighty people dead and another fifty injured. Among those who escaped the blaze were the widow of former President Franco, her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. It's estimated that the relatively modern hotel, the Corona de Aragon, held about 200 people, most of whom were sleeping, when the flames engulfed the building in the early hours of the morning.
SYNOPSIS: It's thought the fire broke out in the kitchen while catering staff were preparing breakfast. Many of the guests had come to Saragossa specifically to see the annual passing out military parade. Observers were surprised at how quickly it spread but experts later said the flames had shot up fuel lines to a tank on the roof. Such was the ferocity of the blaze that it soon became obvious that many would die despite efforts from rescue workers. Most people were asphyxiated byu smoke, others managed to struggle to their balcony windows only to find no way of escape.
The Corona was 11 years old??? and catered for expensive tastes. Among its features were a gymnasium and a special area for kenneling dogs. What it lacked was an age old device found in poorer lodgings throughout the world; a fire-escape. Authorities are now speculating that if there had been a fire-escape the final death toll would have been significantly less.
Tragically such a basic safety feature is not required by Spanish law and it's for that reason that the Saragossa mayor is blaming legislators in Madrid.
The tragic sight of the dead and dying pervaded the day and entered the minds of those people who worked tirelessly but often in vain. Reuters reports that Mrs Carmen Polo Franco, 82, the widow of Spain's former leader who escaped the blaze with only minor injuries has entered a state of deep shock. By afternoon an information centre was set up on the debris laden streets outside the hotel to answer questions from distraught guests seeking news about missing friends and relatives. Among the dead were two from the United States, at least one West German, an Argentinian and a Mexican. The final death toll is not known.