At least 13 people died in a fire in a nightclub in Murcia on Sunday morning, authorities said, with fears the death toll could still rise as rescue workers sift through the debris. Spanish media reported that at least six others are injured with smoke inhalation. Europa Press reported that 16 people were known to be missing – a figure that includes the number of confirmed deaths to date.
The fire broke out in the popular two-storey ‘Teatre’ nightclub, also called ‘Fonda Milagros’, in the city of Murcia in early hours of the morning, and quickly tore through the venue, according to Spain’s state news agency EFE. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.
Emergency services said on X (formerly Twitter) that firefighters were continuing to work at the scene and had not ruled out ‘the possibility of finding more victims’.
José Ballesta, mayor of Murcia, said the fire had broken out at around 6am local time and was ‘extremely serious’.
Ballesta told press at the scene that ‘there are still bodies to be pulled out’ from the rubble, which he said was a complicated task given the ‘risk of collapse’.
Firefighters dispatched to the scene at 7am were able to extinguish the fire by 8am, he said.
Photos released by the emergency services show water hoses from fire trucks spraying the blackened facade of the club. Thick smoke could be seen billowing from the roof of the building.
Authorities said four people were injured, two women aged 22 and 25 years old and two men in their forties, all suffering with smoke inhalation.
A police spokesperson said that a birthday party was being held at the club on Saturday night.
‘According to initial information, the fire broke out on the first floor of the nightclub, which has a ground floor and a first floor,’ Diego Seral, the national police spokesman told radio Onda Regional de Murcia.
Forensic and judicial police experts ‘have been deployed to the Murcia nightclub where the fire broke out this morning to investigate the cause’, the national police service said on social media.
Video footage released by the city’s firefighting brigade shows the firefighters holding a long hose approaching bright orange flames inside the venue, passing bar tables that still have drinks placed on top of them.
More than 40 firefighters and 12 emergency vehicles were attending the scene, authorities said.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez voiced ‘solidarity with the victims and relatives of the tragic fire in a Murcia nightclub’.
The city’s town hall had earlier said it ‘deeply regrets’ the accident and offered condolences to those affected. The mayor announced that three days of mourning would be held, and set up a reception base for the relatives of victims.
40 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, Britain, Romania and Belgium.
And in 1990, 43 people died in a fire at a nightclub in Spain’s northeastern city of Zaragoza.
🔴 Confirman 13 muertos y 15 desaparecidos en el incendio en una discoteca en Murcia, entre los que podría haber fallecidos o heridos no identificados https://t.co/WgRDIzLn52 #Directo pic.twitter.com/A3TqxVZ5hO— Europa Press (@europapress) October 1, 2023
⚫️Lamentamos comunicar que los fallecidos en el incendio de Atalayas ascienden a 13 personas.— José Ballesta (@Ballesta_Murcia) October 1, 2023
Los servicios de emergencias continúan trabajando en la zona.
🔴 Extinguido incendio discoteca zona atalayas, seguimos trabajando en la zona. pic.twitter.com/U1DnRjDRor— Bomberos Murcia (@BomberosMurcia) October 1, 2023