Madrid police rescued more than 70 people, including 51 minors, from an illegal party in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to municipal law enforcement sources.
A report came in around 1am concerning a party being held in the district of Fuencarral, on María Tubau street, involving alcohol and underage revelers.
When the officers showed up, the organizer shut all doors leading into the building and locked the party-goers inside a room on the fifth floor, where he “held them against their will,” according to the same sources.
The organizer was detected by the police after trying to slip by unnoticed in the crowd
A municipal police chief said that patrol cars regularly conduct checks in this part of the city due to the high number of parties organized in the area without municipal licenses, and which are held “without meeting minimum safety standards.”
Officers on site were able to get information about what was happening inside the building through a cellphone used by one of the party-goers, who had called her mother and told her that they were being held by the promoter, Jorge C. G.
Despite the shouts for help coming from the fifth floor, the organizer refused to allow the police in. Officers eventually found an open window and were able to access a garage door, thus allowing other municipal workers inside.
Standing on the other side of the locked door on the fifth floor, rescuers heard “screams and desperate knocking by minors who were trying to make their way out into the hall.”
Tables filled with alcohol
The fire department was called in to break down the door, and 71 people were escorted out of the premises.
The party had been organized without any type of license, in a space with no emergency exits or other safety features. The organizer had charged a €6 cover.
The dimly-lit room – there was no electricity – was seen to contain tables filled with alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
The organizer was detected by the police after trying to slip by unnoticed in the crowd. He is being investigated for disobeying the police, for holding people against their will and for organizing an illegal party.
Municipal police sources noted that these types of events require a special permit awarded to organizers who can produce proof of having emergency plans, insurance and other safety measures that would ensure an efficient evacuation in case of need.
Madrileños still remember the tragic Halloween party of 2012 at Madrid Arena, where five young women were trampled to death in a stampede. Fifteen defendants took the stand in January of this year over that case amid allegations of overcrowding and insufficient safety measures at the venue.
English version by Susana Urra.