A nightclub complex in Murcia which was ravaged by fire over the weekend, killing 13 people, had been ordered to be closed down in 2022, the deputy mayor of the southeastern city said on Monday.
Spain’s deadliest nightclub fire in decades broke out early on Sunday in a building housing the Teatre and Fonda Milagros discos on the outskirts of Murcia.
Murcia City Hall had in January 2022 ordered the nightclubs shut since the company that operated them only had a licence for one of them — the Teatre — and not for Fonda which was created later, deputy mayor Antonio Navarro told a news conference.
‘We are going to determine all responsibilities,’ he said without explaining why the discos were still operating.
Navarro said the nightclubs had been ordered shut on 10 January 2022. An appeal of the shutdown order was rejected in March 2022 and in October 2022 the company was ordered to comply with the ruling which was not respected.
At the news conference, he said, ‘We didn’t know they were still open. Maybe an inspector was there and at that moment it was closed.’
All of the dead were found in the Fonda nightclub.
It is not clear what caused the blaze but officials said it spread quickly through the air conditioning vents of the building that housed the two nightclubs. ALSO READ: At least 13 dead in Murcia nightclub fire.
Authorities in Murcia had initially said 18 people were missing after the blaze, but as of Monday afternoon five had been accounted for, alive and well. The confirmed death toll remains at 13, with 24 people injured
Of the 13 deaths, 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 told Spanish public television.
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,’ Serral said.
Firefighters told Spanish media the temperature inside the nightclubs soared above 500 Celsius as the blaze raged.
Police will have to wait 48 hours for the area to cool so that they can investigate what caused the blaze, 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 had no news of her since she left a desperate voice mail message at 6.06 am, 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.
Murcia. Teniente de alcalde de Urbanismo, Antonio Navarro (PP). Exteniente de alcalde de Urbanismo, Andrés Guerrero (PSOE): “Teatre se dividió en dos y abrió Fonda. No podían abrir desde 2022. No sabíamos que seguían abriendo. Igual fue un inspector y en ese momento está cerrada” pic.twitter.com/6Vtc89BPxy— Jesús Cintora (@JesusCintora) October 2, 2023
Vamos a actuar contundentemente ante la Justicia y a depurar todas las responsabilidades que cualquiera hubiera podido incurrir en estos procedimientos.— Ayuntamiento de Murcia (@AytoMurcia) October 2, 2023
Nos vamos a personar como acusación particular contra la empresa Teatre por haber incumplido las órdenes de cese. pic.twitter.com/SayZ5E4E4Y