Two Brit expats in Alicante hospitalised after apartment collapse

Published:  27 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain
The collapse of two apartments in an Alicante housing development resulted in two elderly expat retirees being treated at a local hospital after the upper apartment collapsed.

Retired expat apartment owner David Keary, a resident of Orihuela Costa’s Laguna 3 estate, was rescued from the wreckage of his apartment and taken to a local hospital after he suffered shock and a panic attack. Also joining him in the hospital was his downstairs neighbour, who was pulled from the rubble through a downstairs window by police amid fears the entire structure would collapse. An immediate inspection of other homes on the estate revealed large cracks in 15 properties, causing their owners to be evacuated.

The incident occurred a day after residents had reported hearing strange creaking noises across the estate. Both the rescued men were lucky in that their injuries were slight, although firefighters had to cut away metal bars in order to release the occupant of the lower apartment. Photos show the duplex with its roof destroyed, the larger part of its upper wall missing and the access stairs collapsed. Sniffer dogs were used to make sure no-one else was trapped in the rubble, and a near neighbour told police that four of the affected properties were owned by British expatriates.

Most people, she said, were still asleep when the collapse occurred and were woken by the huge noise. Local authorities have promised to temporarily re-house all those affected, probably in hotels, and an investigation into the cause of the collapse as well as the cracks in other properties is under way. According to another expatriate living nearby, the properties were constructed around 20 years ago, with the building contractors bankrupted by the 2008 financial crash.

Houses in Spain and the majority of Southern Mediterranean countries are constructed using a reinforced concrete frame based in poured concrete, filled in with bricks and finally rendered. With this collapse, it can be seen that the frame is still holding up what’s left of the building itself and the creaking noises heard by other residents would suggest subsidence. This method of construction is widely used in earthquake and subsidence--prone countries.
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