His work these days is a real hell, in complete asphalt. As if they were in a sandwich created by Pedro Botero himself: the environment, with a desert wind of almost 40 degrees Celsius, and the earth, the liquid asphalt that is thrown by machines to cover the Col legi de Terrassa, a new beautiful black at more than 160 degrees Celsius. And in the middle, they, the workers of the Barcino Asphalt Company, weary from a sweltering climate.
Pedro Adan is an expert worker with many years in the world of asphalt, in different companies. It started with Barcino when it opened. He does not remember experiencing such infernal heat. “It was a crazy Tuesday. We were working in a garden and we were falling apart because of these fires. We were in the blazing 42 degrees Celsius sun and didn’t even have shade to protect us,” he sadly said. “Today (yesterday) is a little better because here on Collegi Street we have the shade of the buildings and, fortunately, the sun doesn’t hit too hard.” Manuel, the manager, acknowledges that whenever they can, they stop and rest for a while, taking turns drinking water from the five-liter jugs provided to them by the company. “We protect ourselves with hats and hats and wet our faces, arms and hands” to reduce severe suffocation. The asphalt smokes and emits very unhealthy fumes, from which it is difficult to escape.
“The asphalt comes out at 160 degrees and you have to take advantage of the perfect moment to spread it out and make it stick,” the operators explain.
“The complicated thing is that this business is a chain when you have a machine with liquid asphalt ready, you can’t stop, no matter how hard you feel about it. This comes at 160°C and you have to take advantage of the perfect moment to deploy it and make it stationary,” the operators explain. Fortunately, no one has sunstroke these days. They make sure they take care of themselves. “We apply common sense and combine our personal security with the best trading outcome. However, I am clear that what you can expect in this life is action,” says Adan.
At Asfaltos Barcino headquarters, company spokeswoman Cristina acknowledges that the intense heat makes operators’ work difficult, but for the time being, they have not had to cancel any work in the province of Barcelona. “What we’ve done is double order bottles for workers. We’ve gone from about 120, five liters, to more than 200,” the spokeswoman explains. “They are well structured, they are very strong and they have complete freedom to stop and rest when their bodies tell them to. They are very good professionals,” says Christina.
Other fire tamers are in a similar position: those at La Floresta churrería in Sabadell, who get up early on Wednesdays to prepare churros and churros for customers. They admit, fortunately, they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but every time they approach the fryer the oil reaches 40C.