At least 13 people have been killed in a fire in adjoining nightclubs in Murcia in southeast Spain, emergency services said on Sunday, adding that rescuers were still searching for those who were unaccounted for.
Outside the club, young people hugged as they waited for information about the fire, which broke out in the early hours in Atalayas, on the outskirts of the city.
“I think we left 30 seconds to one minute before the alarms went off and all the lights went out [and] the screams saying there was a fire,” one survivor, who was not identified, said.
“Five family members and two friends are missing.”
Diego Seral, of the National Police, told reporters the deceased were found in La Fonda nightclub, one of three adjoining clubs on the street, which had sustained the majority of fire damage. The venue’s roof had collapsed, which was making it difficult to locate victims. .
The cause of the fire could not yet be determined, with investigations under way.
The identification of the bodies would take time, he said. The emergency services gave the death toll, which has risen steadily throughout the day, as 13.
Earlier, Murcia’s Mayor José Ballesta told reporters seven bodies had been found in the same area of the first floor, where the fire broke out.
A spokesperson for the Teatre nightclub, Maria Dolores Albellan, said the fire spread to the two adjoining clubs after it started in La Fonda.
Spanish media reported several birthday celebrations were taking place at the time.
Ballesta declared three days of mourning for those who had died. Flags were lowered to half mast outside Murcia’s City Hall.
Footage released by the local fire service showed firefighters working to control flames inside the nightclub.
“We are devastated,” Ballesta said on Spanish TV channel 24h, adding rescuers were still searching for several people reported missing.
Ballesta said the fire started at around 6am and had now been brought under control.
Four people have been treated in hospital for smoke inhalation. – Reuters