STAFF REPORTER A SEVENTH floor flat located in the district of Palma's old Sant Ferran market was the scene of an outbreak of fire yesterday at 1.30pm, producing an avalanche of calls to emergency services from onlookers and residents.

Local police, Guardia Civil and firemen were able to follow the dense column of smoke which darkened the city skyline with ambulance services following hot on their heels. The eight-storey block of flats is located on the corner of Avenida Sant Ferran and Jeroni Alemany street but the tenants of the seventh floor had no idea how a fire could have started being as there was no-one inside at the time and nothing was switched on or lit. Firemen, who had to access the property by means of extendable ladders, believed the cause of the fire was the covering of the terrace area of the property which had a corrugated roof made of a toxic, inflammable substance. Neighbours living adjacent to the property which had caught fire were evacuated. Part of the apartment was completely destroyed by the blaze. There were no injuries but ambulance crew attended three people who were suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation - their conditions were not serious. One neighbour, however, did need to be taken to hospital as a precautionary measure as he had a heart condition and had inhaled some of the dense black smoke.

The section of road along Avenida Sant Ferran between Francesc Martí and Mora and Pasqual Ribot remained cut off to traffic until 3pm when the fire was finally declared extinguished. It was around 2.30pm when residents who had had to leave the block of flats were eventually allowed back into their homes.

An adjacent flat also suffered serious damage.