Firefighters search debris after Spanish nightclub blaze kills 13

Police have to wait 48 hours for area to cool so that they can investigate what caused the fire

Firefighters battling the flames outside the nightclub in Murcia, south-eastern Spain. AP
Powered by automated translation

Firefighters were on Monday searching the wreckage of a blaze that ripped through a packed Spanish nightclub at the weekend, killing at least 13 people with two still missing.

The fire broke out early on Sunday in a building housing the Teatre and Fonda Milagros discos on the outskirts of the south-eastern city of Murcia. The cause of the blaze is not yet known.

On Sunday, police said 15 people were missing after the blaze but as of Monday morning only two were still unaccounted for, Murcia mayor Jose Ballesta told Spanish TV.

"It is very unlikely that any other body will be found," he added.

Police said three of the victims had been identified by their fingerprints. The rest of the bodies will have to be identified using DNA samples from close relatives.

"Police are using all the means at their disposal so that the families can get this information as soon as possible," police spokesman Diego Seral said.

The fire spread from the upper storey of the two clubs, which were next to each other in the building, he added.

"The fatalities were all concentrated in a very small area in the Fonda establishment," Mr Seral said.

Firefighters told Spanish media the temperature inside the nightclubs soared above 500°C as the flames took hold.

Police will have to wait for up to 48 hours for the area to cool so they can carry out proper investigations, Mr Seral said.

There was a birthday party at one of the clubs on Saturday night, he added.

A man named Jairo, who said he was the father of one of the victims, told reporters his 28-year-old daughter had been inside one of the clubs.

He had heard no news of her whereabouts since she left a desperate voicemail message at 6.06am, he added.

"Mum, I love you. We're going to die. I love you, mum," a young woman's voice could be heard crying on the recording, while in the background people shouted for someone to turn on the lights.

An information area for relatives has been set up in a nearby sports hall, where a team of psychologists is on hand to offer support.

Firefighters sent to the scene at 7am were able to extinguish the flames within an hour, Mr Ballesta said.

More than 40 firefighters and 12 emergency vehicles attended, authorities said.

Officials said four people, two women aged 22 and 25 and two men in their 40s, were treated for smoke inhalation.

Video footage released by the Murcia fire brigade shows the firefighters holding a long hose approaching fierce flames inside the venue, passing bar tables that still had drinks on them.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed his "solidarity with the victims and relatives of the tragic fire in a Murcia nightclub".

Mr Ballesta announced three days of mourning.

Forty people were injured in 2017 in a packed nightclub on Spain's holiday island of Tenerife when a floor collapsed.

The injured were from countries including France, the UK, Romania and Belgium.

And in 1990, 43 people died in a fire at a nightclub in Spain's north-eastern city of Zaragoza.

Updated: October 02, 2023, 10:15 AM