The mayor of Arona, José Julián Mena, presided this Thursday at the act of homage to the seven people who lost their lives in the collapse of the Christian building located on Amalia Cayón street, on April 14, 2016.
The commemoration was attended by neighbors and relatives of the deceased, as well as members of the corporation, reported the City hall.
The criminal case was archived by court number 3 of Arona in July 2018, a file appealed by the Arona City Council before the Provincial Court, which dismissed the municipal allegations and confirmed the archive in September 2021.
The collapse of the Los Cristianos building took place shortly after 9:30 in the morning, at which time a minute’s silence was observed today and a wreath was placed on the wall that surrounds the site in the that the building was collapsed.
In addition to causing the death of seven people, the collapse of the building forced the eviction of another ninety, also from adjoining buildings, and mobilized 250 troops during rescue tasks that lasted several days.
José Julián Mena expressed his sorrow and his tribute to the deceased, and their families, in the Los Cristianos building: “To all the victims of the worst event that Arona has experienced in decades and dozens of people who mobilized to help the victims, who showed their humanity and gave the best of themselves”.
The keys to the collapse of the Los Cristianos building
The two expert reports commissioned by the Arona City Council to find out the causes of the collapse of the Los Cristianos building corroborated the information provided by DIARIO DE AVISOS at the time and that the parties were made aware of at the expert’s ratification ceremony, held on the 1st of February, before the head of Court Number 3 of Arona, Sofía Elena Valdivia.
To determine the technical causes of the crash, the City Council commissioned the companies Atlante SLU and Intemac to carry out forensic engineering work, independent of each other, the results of which were delivered to the court on September 7, in the case of Intemac, and on November, at Atlante SLU. Until all the samples were taken for analysis, the structure that remained standing in the block was not demolished, a fact that occurred in the month of July. What are the key points that appeared in the two reports of what happened in the Los Cristianos building?
1. Banesto’s work
The Atlante study reveals in its conclusions that, “without a doubt, the actions that took place in the building seem decisive as the cause of the collapse of the Los Cristianos building”, and it points out that “the removal of walls was decisive in damaging the building to the point of ruin, specifically the action that took place in premises A (Banesto financial institution) in 2003”.
The evaluation provides convincing data to reach that conclusion: “Once the rubble was analyzed, it was possible to relate the metal lintels found as elements that were used to replace the load-bearing capacity of the eliminated walls, and these elements were not only taken to ground, but the anchoring to the pillars was done by means of plastic dowels hardware store”. As revealed, very graphically, one of the lawyers in the case, “the hooks were of a terrible quality, almost to hang a picture.”
The study highlights that “the consideration of structure in this type of building must not only go through traditional systems, such as pillars and beams, but also walls (partition walls and façade cladding) become part of the structure” . But if the building was in poor condition, why didn’t the Los Cristianos building collapse first and remain standing for 43 years?
This question also has an answer in the report and is connected to the previous argument: “All the manifestation of damage to the building occurred in the interventions in the premises of the financial institution, and the symptoms of this damage indicated a reality: the partition wall. and the enclosure (the walls) formed a fundamental part of the structure (…). The reason it didn’t collapse sooner was because the building was supported partly by the structure and partly by the walls.”
The study goes further by pointing out that “if the walls had not been removed, and the metallic elements arranged had been executed correctly, despite the poor quality of the materials and the design, the building would most likely have remained standing”.
The second report, in addition to influencing the poor quality of the concrete used in the Los Cristianos building, also points to Banesto and, in almost identical terms, attributes that the incident occurred more than four decades later to “the change in the distribution of the partition walls, such as those possibly being carried out in the premises on the ground floor (Banesto); That could have been the trigger.” The study carried out, signed by five engineers, adds that “it is more than likely that the partitions and enclosures, of considerable rigidity, were absorbing part of the efforts of the structure despite not being designed for that purpose.”
2. Poor quality of concrete
Intemac’s analysis indicates that “behind the collapse is probably the failure of a pillar due to poor quality concrete”. He also points out that as a result of the inspections carried out “it seems to be deduced that the collapse had started from one of the pillars on the inside of the building.” “This failure -continues the report- would justify the extension of the sinking, because once a pillar collapsed, the adjacent ones would be overloaded”. In the opinion of this group of engineers, the reforms undertaken “should not have had any significance without a defect in the quality of the concrete as described.”
On the other hand, the evaluation of Atlante SLU indicates that “concrete strengths are very varied, with a low density and very little cohesion between the aggregates and the cement”. He also alludes to the “poverty” of this material, “little cohesive and with disintegrated aggregates, that is, loose”. In another section he refers to the “strangulation of the nodes, a very delicate part of the structure that would require a greater presence of reinforcing armor and solid concrete”.
The study carried out by Atlante SLU indicates that “only the fact of living between cracks and that 12 years passed between the first warning report and the collapse, can explain why the Community of Owners did not act to repair the damage that was caused. they manifested It is not credible that the injuries did not evolve over time for the worse. For this reason, it concludes that the “determining” factor in the collapse is “the lack of observance of the duty of conservation of the owners, and more specifically the original owner of premises A (Banesto), who intervened in the structure, leaving the building in a situation of unstable equilibrium and hidden from view”.
4. Works in 2016
At the time of the collapse, some interior works were being carried out in the premises located in the Los Cristianos building to fit it out as a perfumery. In the act of ratification of the expert, he indicated that the work did not seem to be of such an important depth, based on the tools used, as to endanger the integrity of the block, “but it was acting on a structure that was already weakened”.