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At least 13 dead in nightclub fire in Murcia, Spain

Rescue services are searching for several people whose whereabouts are unknown. Four people were also injured in the blaze

Murcia firefighters remove one of the seven bodies found in the fire in three nightclubs in the early hours of Sunday.
Murcia firefighters remove one of the seven bodies found in the fire in three nightclubs in the early hours of Sunday.Marcial Guillén (EFE)
Virginia Vadillo

At least 13 people have died in a fire that broke out early Sunday morning in three well-known nightclubs in Murcia, a city in southeastern Spain. Emergency services warned the death toll may rise as they are still searching for two missing people. The news was confirmed by emergency services and local authorities.

The fire broke out between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. in one of the clubs and spread to the other two, which are located in the entertainment area known as Las Atalayas, on the outskirts of the city.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire and were searching the affected nightclubs for possible victims. At the moment, the origin of the fire — which affected the nightclubs Teatre, Golden and La Fonda — is unknown. It was initially reported that the fire had started in Teatre. A spokesperson for that nightclub, however, told local media that the fire originated in La Fonda, which has a dance floor and restaurant. Teatre management told reporters that they evacuated the premises and that all the victims were in La Fonda. The National Police has confirmed this point.

The mayor of Murcia, José Ballesta, has decreed three days of mourning.

At least four people — two women aged 22 and 25 and two men aged 41 and 45 — were also injured due to smoke inhalation. The first images of the area hit by the blaze showed dozens of young people in the streets near the nightclubs, while a huge column of black smoke billowed in the background.

Firefighters from the city of Murcia and the Consortium of Fire and Rescue of the Region of Murcia worked together to extinguish the flames. Emergency services were using a sports center near the nightclubs to provide assistance, in particular psychological support, to the families of the victims.

The fire in Murcia is the deadliest recorded in a nightclub in Spain since the 1990 tragedy in a nightclub called Flying in Zaragoza, where 43 people died. The deadliest nightclub fire in Spain took place in Madrid on December 17, 1983, in the club Alcalá 20, when a blaze that started behind the curtains of the stage killed 81 people, most of them youngsters. Smoke, the failure of the lighting system and a closed emergency door were blamed for the tragedy.

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