Hotel Corona de Aragón fire

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Corona de Aragón Fire
DateJuly 12, 1979 (1979-07-12)
VenueCorona de Aragón Hotel
Location Zaragoza, Spain
Coordinates 41°39′06″N0°53′09″W / 41.6516°N 0.8859°W / 41.6516; -0.8859 Coordinates: 41°39′06″N0°53′09″W / 41.6516°N 0.8859°W / 41.6516; -0.8859
Type Fire

The Corona de Aragón Fire, was a fire that killed at least 80 people in the five star Corona de Aragón Hotel in Zaragoza on 12 July 1979. At the time of the event the Hotel lodged high-profile General Franco family members Carmen Polo, Carmen Franco y Polo and Cristóbal Martínez Bordiú, as well as many high-ranking military personnel, five of whom died in the fire.

Stars are often used as symbols for ratings. They are used by reviewers for ranking things such as films, TV shows, restaurants, and hotels. For example, a system of one to five stars is commonly employed to rate hotels, with five stars being the highest quality.

Zaragoza Place in Aragon, Spain

Zaragoza is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It lies by the Ebro river and its tributaries, the Huerva and the Gállego, roughly in the center of both Aragon and the Ebro basin.



At the night of the fire there was 300 registered guests, with the majority Spanish citizens. Nearly 200 guests were evacuated from the 10-story hotel, however many attempted to climb down ropes of bed sheets or tossed children out of windows into firemen's nets. [1] Two United States Air Force helicopters from the Joint American-Spanish air base outside Saragossa were used in the evacuation of guests, [1] and some guests lay in the swimming pool on the roof until they were evacuated. [2] It was reported that those who could not jump to safety, reach the ladders, or escape from their rooms, died due to suffocation.

Bed sheet rectangular piece of cloth or linen cotton used to cover a mattress

A sheet is a rectangular piece of cloth used as bedding, being placed immediately below or above bed occupants. Bed sheets can generally be divided into two categories: "top" and "bottom" sheets.

United States Air Force Air and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

Asphyxia Condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body caused by abnormal breathing

Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from abnormal breathing. An example of asphyxia is choking. Asphyxia causes generalized hypoxia, which affects primarily the tissues and organs. There are many circumstances that can induce asphyxia, all of which are characterized by an inability of an individual to acquire sufficient oxygen through breathing for an extended period of time. Asphyxia can cause coma or death.

Aftermath and controversy

Details of the fire investigation were not openly disclosed and the authorities insisted that it was an accidental fire. [3] The Order of 25 September 1979 on fire prevention in tourist establishments was passed in response to the fire. [4]

Fire investigation analysis of fire-related incidents

Fire investigation, sometimes referred to as origin and cause investigation, is the analysis of fire-related incidents. After firefighters extinguish a fire, an investigation is launched to determine the origin and cause of the fire or explosion. Investigations of such incidents require a systematic approach and knowledge of basic fire science.


But not long after the fire took place press reports voiced the opinion that ETA was the real culprit, but that its role was being silenced; [5] other sources described the event as an intentional attack. [6] The Terrorism Victims' Association (AVT) asked for official recognition of the fire as a terrorist attack. [7]

ETA (separatist group) former armed Basque separatist group (1958-2018)

ETA, an acronym for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, was an armed leftist Basque nationalist and separatist organization in the Basque Country. The group was founded in 1959 and later evolved from a group promoting traditional Basque culture to a paramilitary group engaged in a violent campaign of bombing, assassinations and kidnappings in the Southern Basque Country and throughout Spanish territory. Its goal was gaining independence for the Basque Country. ETA was the main group within the Basque National Liberation Movement and was the most important Basque participant in the Basque conflict.

Asociación de Víctimas del Terrorismo

The Association of Victims of Terrorism is a Spanish association created in 1981 by victims of terrorist attacks. Its members include those injured by ETA, GRAPO, the Provisional Irish Republican Army and Al Qaeda, as well as their families. It does not, however, include victims of extreme right Spanish groups such as GAL, Warriors of Christ the King and others. Its membership exceeds 6,000.

The official version of events provided at the time by the Spanish government insisted that the fire had been started accidentally by an oil fire in the Hotel café. The Spanish Council of State explicitly stated that they did not consider the fire to be an act of terrorism. However, some details of the fire investigation leaked to the press, disclosing that Napalm traces had been found in the rubble. Moreover, some witnesses claimed to hear two explosions before the fire and a local newspaper (Heraldo de Aragón) received two phone calls claiming authorship in the name of ETA (m) and the FRAP. [8] The claim attributed to FRAP was unlikely, for the group was practically inactive after a number of its core members had been arrested in 1978. [9]

Spanish Council of State organization

The Council of State, is the supreme consultative council of the Spanish Government. The current Council of State was established in 1980 according to the article 107 of the Constitution of 1978. The institution of the Council of State, understood as supreme consultative council of the Government, has existed intermittently since 1812. During the Ancien Régime, the Council of State advised the King about foreign policy.

Napalm gelling agent for use in incendiary devices

Napalm is an incendiary mixture of a gelling agent and a volatile petrochemical. The title is a portmanteau of the names of two of the constituents of the original thickening and gelling agents: co-precipitated aluminium salts of naphthenic and palmitic acids. Napalm B is the more modern version of napalm and, although distinctly different in its chemical composition, is often referred to simply as "napalm".

Revolutionary Antifascist Patriotic Front

The Revolutionary Antifascist Patriotic Front (FRAP) was a radical Spanish Anti-Francoist, Marxist–Leninist revolutionary organization that operated in the 1970s. This group was initially inspired by the success of the student demonstrations of May 1968 in France.

In the year 2000, relatives of the deceased started to receive benefits as terrorism victims. According to El Mundo that was an implicit recognition of ETA authorship. [10] The Civil Guard website listed a high rank retired Civil Guard member deceased in the fire as a victim of ETA, and stated that many injured died after the fire, but were not included in the official account of 80 dead. [11]

Terrorism use of violence and intimidation against civilians in order to further a political goal

Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a religious or political aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime or in war against non-combatants. The terms "terrorist" and "terrorism" originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s in news reports and books covering the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country and Palestine. The increased use of suicide attacks from the 1980s onwards was typified by the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2001.

<i>El Mundo</i> (Spain) Spanish daily newspaper

El Mundo, formally El Mundo del Siglo Veintiuno is the second largest printed daily newspaper in Spain. The paper is considered one of the country's newspapers of record along with El País and ABC.

The Civil Guard is the oldest law enforcement agency covering the whole of Spain. It is organised as a military force charged with police duties under the authority of both the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence. The corps is colloquially known as the benemérita (reputable). In annual surveys, it generally ranks as the national institution most valued by Spaniards, closely followed by other law enforcement agencies and the military. It has both a regular national role and undertakes specific foreign peace-keeping missions. As a national police force, the Guardia Civil is comparable today to the French National Gendarmerie, the Italian Carabinieri, the Portuguese National Republican Guard and the Dutch Royal Marechaussee as it is part of the European Gendarmerie Force.

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  1. 1 2 "71 Persons Are Killed and 47 Hurt As Blaze Sweeps a Spanish Hotel" . Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  2. Nooteboom, Cees (2009). Nomad's Hotel: Travels in Time and Space. Mariner Books. p. 88. ISBN   978-0156035354.
  3. El incendio del Corona de Aragón, fue provocado, según "El Alcázar"
  4. Simancas Cruz, Moises (2018). "Strategies to improve the quality and competitiveness of coastal tourism areas Applying tourism standards". Journal of Tourism Analysis: Revista de Análisis Turístico. 25: 71.
  5. "Misterio en el Corona de Aragón. Muchos situaron a ETA detrás del incendio que mató a 80 personas...En todo momento, las autoridades aseguran que se trata de un hecho fortuito, pero son muchos los que colocan a ETA detrás de este trágico suceso...En 2000, los familiares de los fallecidos comienzan a recibir las indemnizaciones... El estado asume así de facto la autoría de ETA" Cited from "El Camino de la libertad 2.1979", ISBN   978-84-92540-00-6, page 68. Published by "El Mundo"
  6. Resultó herido en el atentado perpetrado contra el hotel Corona de Aragón, de Zaragoza, en 1979
  7. Hotel Corona de Aragón, hosted at the AVT website [ dead link ]
  8. Las víctimas del Corona de Aragón, indemnizadas en breve
  9. FRAP - Grupo Armado Archived 2012-06-20 at the Wayback Machine .
  10. "En 2000, los familiares de los fallecidos comienzan a recibir las indemnizaciones...El estado asume así de facto la autoría de ETA" Cited from El Camino de la libertad 2. 1979, page 68. Published by "El Mundo"
  11. Civil Guard website listing the Civil Guard retired high rank member died in the fire as an ETA victim Archived 2008-06-07 at the Wayback Machine .