Fire crew at the blaze in Arenal.

A 66-year-old Italian woman was transferred on Wednesday to the specialist burns unit at the Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona. She had initially been taken to Son Espases following a fire that affected a four-storey apartment building opposite the Kilimanjaro Hotel on the Calle Gran i General Consell in the Llucmajor part of Arenal.

Medical sources say that the woman suffered burns to sixty per cent of her body. Her condition was clearly critical. She had apparently been attempting to save her dogs, which contributed to the extent of her burns.

The Palma and Majorca Fire Brigades were called out just after seven o'clock. Three other people were taken to Son Llàtzer Hospital - two women aged 70 and 76 and a man in his forties; a 39-year-old man was taken to Son Espases. They had suffered burns or smoke inhalation but were all due to have been released from hospital later on Wednesday.

Fourteen people were affected in some way by the fire, which was swiftly brought under control but affected a number of apartments and totally gutted one. Fire crews had to use a firefighting lift to evacuate people from the building. Up to thirty people were trapped, and witnesses say that some climbed over to neighbouring balcony-terraces in order to escape the flames and smoke. Investigations were being carried out yesterday to establish the cause.