At about 11:20 PM, Saturday, February 12 2005, a fire breaks out on the 21st floor. An electrical short-circuit is suspected. The building is empty except for a couple of night guards. It seems they took too long to notice the fire and call the fire department. It is said the fire could have been contained if the fire fighters had arrived earlier. By 1 AM the TV stations are already showing images of the fire. As the fire rages out of control, at about 2:30 AM I grab my digital camera and walk to the scene. Over the next hours I took about 100 photos. It is a cool night but there are a lot of people on Castellana avenue, which has been closed to vehicular traffic. The fire department had given up trying to fight the fire from the inside of the building and was spraying water on the outside, as high as they could reach, as well as on nearby buildings to keep them cool and prevent the fire from spreading.
3:25 AM. The fire has been raging through the floors above 17. Part of the upper structure collapses and falls to the street in a rain of fire.
The building is (was?) located in a complex named Azca which had underground tunnels for vehicular traffic, metro, trains, parking, etc. Until the building is declared safe from the possibility of collapse, the nearby buildings, including El Corte Ingles, have been closed down for business, vehicle traffic has been suspended in the complex and in adjacent streets and the several train and metro lines have been suspended.
27 feb 2005
It is difficult to appreciate the scale and the size of these cranes but they reach over the top of the building which is over 120 m (400 ft) high. The building will be dismantled from the outside as it is too dangerous to go inside. Huge job which will take almost a year.
A third crane has been added and the crane atop the building has already been dismantled. All the work is being done by workers hanging in cages from the cranes. The two cages can be seen in the photo below. The third crane takes the pieces and lowers them to the ground.