Two policemen bravely tried to rescue a man who was trapped by smoke and fire in an apartment block in Marsascala early on Sunday morning, but they were beaten back by the smoke, the police have confirmed.

35-year-old Gordon Spiteri died from smoke inhalation.

The tragedy unfolded at Triq l-Aħmar in Marsascala at about 5.30am.

The victim: Gordon Spiteri.The victim: Gordon Spiteri.

The fire broke out in an apartment in the fourth floor of the six-storey block.

The residents of the apartment where the fire broke out managed to get out in time.

Gordon Spiteri, who lived in another apartment above, was later found by members of the Civil Protection Department. He died within a few minutes in hospital. 

Six other persons, including a two-year-old child, who lived in the same apartment block were hospitalised. Other residents were evacuated.

The police said that upon receiving a report of a fire, a sergeant and a constable went to the site and saw smoke coming out of a balcony. A number of people above said they could not get down.

The Civil Protection Department and the ambulance service were alerted and those people were rescued by policemen from the Rapid Intervention Unit across the roof from another building.

The police officers asked residents if other people could be in the block and they indicated that there could be a person in the apartment above the one which caught fire.They said that he had not come out or made contact. 

The policemen immediately got into the building and on their way up, amid the smoke, heard a man shouting that he was trapped. The officers made several efforts to reach him, but were beaten back by the smoke and eventually had no choice but to get out of the building.  

The 35-year-old man was eventually found int he common area, brought out of the building and rushed to hospital, where he passed away. 

The Police Force thanked PS 692 O.Pace and PC1038 A.Zammit for their bravery.  

Several ambulance crews also assisted people on site.

Health Minister Chris Fearne said hospital helpline 2545 0000 has been set up.

A magisterial inquiry led by Magistrate Joe Mifsud, and police investigations are underway.

Triq Ahmar in Marsascala. (Google view)Triq Ahmar in Marsascala. (Google view)


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