A SQUAT in Malaga City has been dismantled.
The building on Avenida Juan XXIII, which has been the scene of many fires in recent months, has been cleaned and secured. Residents have said they can finally “sleep peacefully” after fearing for their safety but explained they are still waiting for the building to be sold off and redeveloped to provide a permanent solution to the problem.
Council workers encouraged squatters to move on voluntarily, offering them alternative accommodation.
In November the building suffered its seventh fire in recent weeks. The site was attended by fire fighters after a mattress apparently caught fire in the afternoon. The flames have now been extinguished and no one has been reported injured.
Malaga City Council is now waiting for a court to decide whether they can remove squatters from an empty building.
Commercial Court Number One is due to make a decision over whether the council can brick up the building’s entrances or take up any other measures which would see its squatters removed. The court will also consider whether the building, a housing block on Avenida Juan XXII, could be bought by a third party who would reform it.
Following a series of fires at the property, Local Police have been forced to visit the site around 25 times this year, identifying those squatting in it.
The building’s current most recent occupiers were evicted after a latest fire on Sunday. Residents claim the spot has become a target for thieves since a construction company which owned the building declared bankruptcy. Up to one hundred people have squatted in the building since then, including some families and children. Despite police efforts to evict the occupiers, many have returned.
In October it was revealed police have now learned the identities of squatters living in a building in Las Lagunas’ Calle Clavel.
Officers from the Local Police and Guardia Civil visited the building to identify the 15 people living there, as well as to tighten security and carry out a cleaning operation.
The Mayor, Juan Carlos Maldonado, visited the site accompanied by the councillors for Industry and Cleaning, Andres Ruiz and Jos Carlos Martin to inspect the building.
The council has now reinforced police surveillance of the Las Flores neighbourood and provided extra cleaning services in an attempt to solve the issue.