Hotel Corona de Aragón fire
|Date||July 12, 1979 (1979-07-12)|
|Venue||Corona de Aragón Hotel|
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.
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. Two United States Air Force helicopters from the Joint American-Spanish air base outside Saragossa were used in the evacuation of guests, and some guests lay in the swimming pool on the roof until they were evacuated. It was reported that those who could not jump to safety, reach the ladders, or escape from their rooms, died due to suffocation.
Aftermath and controversy
Details of the fire investigation were not openly disclosed and the authorities insisted that it was an accidental fire. The Order of 25 September 1979 on fire prevention in tourist establishments was passed in response to the fire.
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; other sources described the event as an intentional attack. The Terrorism Victims' Association (AVT) asked for official recognition of the fire as a terrorist attack.
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. 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.
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. 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.
- "71 Persons Are Killed and 47 Hurt As Blaze Sweeps a Spanish Hotel". Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- Nooteboom, Cees (2009). Nomad's Hotel: Travels in Time and Space. Mariner Books. p. 88. ISBN 978-0156035354.
- El incendio del Corona de Aragón, fue provocado, según "El Alcázar"
- 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.
- "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"
- Resultó herido en el atentado perpetrado contra el hotel Corona de Aragón, de Zaragoza, en 1979
- Hotel Corona de Aragón, hosted at the AVT website[dead link]
- Las víctimas del Corona de Aragón, indemnizadas en breve
- FRAP - Grupo Armado Archived 2012-06-20 at the Wayback Machine
- "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"
- 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