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FIRE

Series of fires leaves horses dead at Swiss equestrian centre

More than 20 horses died and several buildings and fields were destroyed in a series of seven fires in the Fribourg/Vaud border area on Saturday morning which police are now investigating.

Series of fires leaves horses dead at Swiss equestrian centre
The destroyed stables. Photo: Fribourg police
A number of fires broke out in Domdidier, St-Aubin and Avenches in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to a statement from Fribourg and Vaud cantonal police forces. 
 
Two fields of barley were on fire across an area of 2,000m2, as was a barn and stables at the National Equestrian Centre at Avenches (IENA). 
 
Three others fires were reported in the area at the same time concerning agriculture machinery, another barley field and hay bales, between 00.30am and 1am, said police.
 
Despite the efforts of the fire service, the barn and the stable where horses were present were completely destroyed, with many animals trapped inside. 
 
The family who lived on the premises were able to escape, and no person was injured in the fires. 
 
However many horses and ponies perished. Police put the figure at around 15, but IENA director Jean-Pierre Kratzer told 20 Minutes that 23 animals had died.
 
Two horses were found alive and were taken to an animal hospital in Bern, reported La Tribune de Genève, however one had to be put down after suffering from severe smoke inhalation.
 
Police have opened an investigation into the fires. 
 
“In light of the circumstances, a criminal act is suspected,” said the statement.
 
One of the fields on fire. Photo: Fribourg police
 
The people of Avenches and the riding school have been left devastated by the events, said the Tribune. 
 
Speaking to the paper, Kratzer said it was an attack on the school’s values but vowed to rebuild the centre as quickly as they could.
 
“Whoever did this is not from the equestrian world. It’s organized terror,” he said.
 
Vaud and Fribourg police have launched an appeal for witnesses. Anyone with information is asked to call 021 333 53 33.

FIRE

Barcelona fire kills four, including two children

A fire ripped through an abandoned bank occupied by squatters in central Barcelona on Tuesday, killing four people, including a baby and a three year-old boy, Spanish firefighters said.

Police and firefighters gather outside an abandoned building where a blaze broke out early on November 30, 2021 in Barcelona, killing four people.
Police and firefighters gather outside an abandoned building where a blaze broke out early on November 30, 2021 in Barcelona, killing four people. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

“While we were battling the fire, we found four people. Emergency services tried to revive them but unfortunately they failed, they could not do anything to save them,” the head of the firefighting operation, Ángel López, told reporters.

Firefighters rescued four other people who were inside the building while putting out the blaze, he added.

Those four were treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters rushed to the scene at around 6 am after being warned that a blaze had broken out in the building, Mr Lopez said.

While Mr López said it was not clear how the four dead people were related, Barcelona-based daily newspaper La Vanguardia said they were all members of a Romanian family.

A spokesman for Catalonia’s regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, said an investigation had been opened into the causes of the fire.

In December 2020, four people were killed after a blaze ripped through an industrial complex occupied by squatters, many of them African migrants, near Barcelona.

Over 100 squatters were believed to be living in precarious conditions at the abandoned complex in Badalona, a suburban town north of the city.

In addition to the four deaths, more than 20 people were injured in the blaze.

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