STAFF REPORTER

DEBRIS falling from an old building in Palma's historic centre sparked an evacuation alert yesterday morning, with firemen sealing off the area where masonry had crashed to the ground.

The drama unfolded about 9.30am by an old three-storey building in Calle Desemparats, a street which linked together with Calle Socors and Calle Bosc surrounds all others in the city's historic centre.

After the alarm was raised, Local Police contacted Palma's Fire Services and access to the affected area was cut off.
Fire officers were able to carry out a first assessment of any danger by using an automatic staircase operating from the back of an emergency vehicle. Investigations revealed the property in question was in a serious state of disrepair. Technicians from the City Council's town planning and architectural heritage departments were soon on the scene and an exhaustive examination of the building was undertaken.

Experts agreed that the property had sustained significant structural damage and that the threat of collapse could not be discounted.
Furthermore, fire officers and technicians had great difficulty in propping up the weakest parts of the structure.
According to a lawyer representing the property interests of various owners in Calle Desemparats, a licence requesting the demolition of the building has already been lodged with the City Council.

Residents in central Palma have been wary of structural defaults since last autumn when a four-storey block of flats collapsed without warning killing seven people.