Adil Negraoui, a homeless man who sleeps on the street in the Barcelona neighborhood of Poblenou, has reported to the Mossos d’Esquadra that at dawn on Sunday, October 24, shortly before five in the morning, someone set fire to the store of campaign in which he sleeps next to a companion.
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The quick action of a security guard from a nearby establishment prevented the episode from ending in tragedy, as Negraoui has told Efe. “If he is not, we are dead. 100% sure”, asserts this homeless person while outlining a nervous smile sitting in front of a hot cut.
The tent caught fire near where Negraoui’s partner has the pillow, causing her to be the one to utter the first cry of alarm upon noticing the flames. The tarpaulin is always padlocked at night to prevent possible theft and, in this urgent context, with watery eyes from the smoke, Negraoui could not find the key to open it. From outside, the aforementioned vigilante, alarmed, ripped open the door of the store so that the two homeless could escape the flames.
According to the account of the events that Negraoui has shared with the Mossos, the guard saw two people dressed in black near the store moments before the fire started, some individuals who then quickly escaped from the place. As he left the store, this homeless man began to run towards where the attackers allegedly fled, while his partner and the guard insisted on putting down the outbreak of fire.
Since that day, these two homeless people have slept with their tent torn by the scars left by the fire, flames that also damaged various belongings, such as some pairs of shoes that were scheduled to travel to Morocco to wear shoes to relatives of Negraoui and of his partner.
This episode has caused that the dream of Negraoui and his partner, who wants to remain anonymous, is now lighter than normal, because they wake up when they hear any noise and the nightmares are already recurring.
Negraoui has lived in Barcelona since 2017, although this is already his third stage in Spain. Born in Fquih Ben Salah, in Morocco, he first grabbed the underside of a truck in 1999, when he was just 16 years old. He then ended up in a supervised juvenile center from which he escaped a few weeks later to Italy. He prefers not to give too many details of his vital journey, although he explains how he was deported to Morocco in 2007, where he stayed until 2010, the year in which he returned to Spain, holding onto a truck again.
In 2012 he was returned to Morocco, but in 2017 he managed to step back onto peninsular soil again hidden in the belly of a truck (to the three successful trips there are two other failed ones, in which he was intercepted by the police, he says) .
Since then, Negraoui has resided in Barcelona, where he is registered, and despite having slept in a hostel, he assures that he feels more comfortable living on his own. He has already finished a cooking course and is now doing another fishmongering course, while surviving on scrap metal while he is longing for a work contract that will allow him to regularize his administrative situation. He assures that for more than a year he neither drinks nor smokes, he only chews a kind of Moroccan tobacco that helps him combat nervousness.
Before saying goodbye, on a gray and rainy day, he explains that the water and the wind are the worst enemies of those who doze in the street, as they slip through any crack, in his case now more easily due to the holes in the store . Heat and cold, he adds, are endured with resignation but with less difficulty.