MADRID, Oct. 1 (Reuters) – At least 13 people died in a fire at a nightclub in Murcia, southeastern Spain, emergency services said on Sunday, adding that rescuers were still searching for missing people after the fire.
Outside the club, young people hugged and looked shocked as they waited for information after the fire that broke out in the early hours of the morning in Atalaya on the outskirts of the city.
One survivor, whose identity has not been revealed, said: “I think we left between 30 seconds to one minute before the alarms went off and all the lights went out (and) screams that there was a fire.”
“Five family members and two friends are missing.”
Spanish media reported that many of the dead belonged to one group that was celebrating a birthday.
Diego Serral of the Spanish National Police told reporters that the bodies were found in the Fonda Milagros nightclub, one of three nearby clubs that suffered the most damage from the fires, including a collapsed roof.
He added that the collapse makes it difficult to locate the victims, and it is difficult to determine the exact location where the fire broke out.
Police investigators have not yet been able to reach the site due to high temperatures and the risk of collapse.
Serral said it would take time to identify the bodies. Emergency services announced that the death toll, which rose steadily throughout the day, had reached 13 people. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
Earlier, Murcia Mayor Jose Ballesta told reporters that seven bodies were found in the same area of the first floor, where the fire broke out.
Maria Dolores Albellan, spokeswoman for Tetri nightclub, told reporters that the fire originated in the neighboring club, Fonda Milagros, before spreading to the two neighboring clubs.
Ballista declared three days of mourning for those who died. Flags were lowered to half-mast outside Murcia City Hall.
Footage published by the Murcia Fire Service showed firefighters working to control the fire inside the nightclub. The footage showed that the fire destroyed part of the ceiling.
“We were shocked,” Ballista told Spanish television channel 24H, adding that rescuers were still searching for several people who were considered missing.
Ballista told 24 Hours that the fire started at about 6 a.m. and has now been brought under control.
Four people were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.
Jessica Jones reports. Editing by Hugh Lawson, Alison Williams and Emilia Sithole-Matarise
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