There were moments of high tension and panic at the scene this morning.


Five people, including a baby, required treatment for the effects of smoke after a fire broke out in a Palma apartment block. The alarm was raised at 10.15am in calle Sant Vicenç de Ferrer in the Son Gotleu neighbourhood of the capital. The blaze had started in a first-floor apartment of the building and panic and tension quickly ran through the street because the fire was in the home to a 79-year-old woman who was trapped by the flames and about whom neighbours were extremely concerned.

The National Police, local police, four units of firefighters and the 112 emergency services were on the scene within minutes and the police instantly closed off the road because it was obvious that the building was going to have to be evacuated.

Two members of the National Police who had rushed into the burning building to help the elderly woman needed to be treated at the scene for the effects of smoke before being taken to the Clinica Palmaplanas, while the 79-year-old, a 25-year-old woman and her five-month-old baby were taken to Son Espases Hospital where they were given exhaustive examinations after having been overcome by smoke.

The exact cause of the blaze has yet to be confirmed, but sources close to the investigation said yesterday that a suspected short circuit in an air-conditioning unit is thought to have been the cause. The Majorca Fire Brigade yesterday announced that, with the cold weather approaching, it is going to launch a safety awareness and fire prevention campaign aimed at the older generation about how to keep warm and safe this year.

Firefighters are going to be giving a series of talks at senior citizens' centres and will be handing out leaflets.