Madrid seeks solution for Metro police station closed due to extreme heat

Around 100 officers working at the precinct may have to be relocated due to high temperatures in building

The Madrid regional transport department is seeking a way to reopen the police precinct located in the central Sol Metro station in the capital, after it had to be closed down due to a lack of ventilation. Technicians are studying the possibility of opening up a hole measuring two meters long and two meters wide, which would connect the premises with the vestibule of the transport hub itself, and from which air could be drawn in. Madrid City Hall has denied permission to put in a grille in the Puerta del Sol square above.

The police precinct in Madrid’s Sol station.
The police precinct in Madrid’s Sol station.Víctor Sáinz

The solution would mean that the police precinct could reopen its doors, and would not have to be permanently relocated elsewhere. Transport chief Pedro Rollán made a visit on Tuesday to the precinct, which had to be closed due to the high temperatures that its nearly 100 employees were being forced to cope with due to the lack of air conditioning.

Technicians are studying the possibility of opening up a hole measuring two meters long and two meters wide

Rollán met yesterday with the heads of architecture from the National Police force in order to seek a solution to the problem.

The job of installing the new ventilation shaft falls to the Madrid regional government, but such a system would be limited to sucking in air from the vestibule, not blowing it back out again. “Air could never be released into that space, because it’s an interior area,” explained a government spokesperson. Technicians will now have to determine whether this proposal is feasible.

The police station opened in February 2010, but the air conditioning system never worked correctly. Two years ago it stopped working entirely and was never fixed.

The situation was complicated by the fact that there are two different administrations involved: City Hall and the regional government. Both rejected the possible solutions of installing a vent that would run out of the entrance to the station, or putting in a grille in the pavement of the Puerta del Sol.

Two years ago the air conditioning stopped working entirely and was never fixed

To complicate the situation further, the police station itself is located in the area of the transport hub that is managed by state rail firm Renfe.

Sol station is home to three Metro lines, and two Cercanías regional train routes. More than 200,000 people pass through the hub every day. Due to the heat issues, the police station had been operating for some time at “half throttle.”

Police chiefs are studying another solution for the officers affected, which could involve them being relocated to nearby precincts.

English version by Simon Hunter.


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