A fire that erupted in a Spanish nightclub on Sunday morning has claimed the lives of at least 13 individuals, according to authorities. There are concerns that the death toll may increase as rescue personnel search through the wreckage.
The fire occurred in the "Teatre" nightclub, also known as "Fonda Milagros," a two-story establishment located in the city of Murcia in southeastern Spain in the early hours of the morning.
Emergency services, in an update posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), have reported that firefighters are still actively engaged at the site and have not dismissed the potential of discovering additional victims.
Jose Ballesta, the mayor of Murcia, revealed that the fire had erupted at approximately 6:00 am local time (0400 GMT) and characterised it as an "extremely serious" incident.
While addressing the press at the site, Ballesta emphasised the ongoing challenge of extracting bodies from the debris due to the "risk of structural collapse."
He reported that firefighters, dispatched to the location at 7:00 am, successfully managed to extinguish the fire by 8:00 am.
Photographs released by the emergency services depict fire trucks' water hoses drenching the nightclub's charred exterior.
The building's rooftop emitted dense plumes of smoke.
Authorities confirmed that four individuals sustained injuries in the incident: two women, aged 22 and 25, and two men in their forties, all suffering from smoke inhalation.
Mishap takes place during birthday celebration
A spokesperson from the police reported that a birthday celebration was underway at the club on Saturday night.
Diego Seral, the national police spokesperson, provided initial information, stating that the fire originated on the nightclub's first floor, with the establishment comprising both a ground floor and a first floor, as he told radio Onda Regional de Murcia.
Forensic and judicial police experts have been dispatched to the Murcia nightclub, where the fire erupted this morning, to initiate an investigation into its cause, as announced by the national police service on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Video footage released by the city's firefighting brigade depicts firefighters wielding a lengthy hose as they approach vivid orange flames within the venue. They navigate past bar tables, still adorned with drinks.
Authorities confirmed that over 40 firefighters and 12 emergency vehicles were on the scene.
Spanish PM expresses grief
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed his "solidarity with the victims and relatives of the tragic fire in a Murcia nightclub".
The city's town hall had earlier conveyed its profound regret over the incident and extended condolences to those affected.
The mayor declared a three-day mourning period and established a reception center for the victims' families.
In 2017, a crowded nightclub on Spain's holiday island of Tenerife witnessed 40 people injured when a floor collapsed, and the injured individuals hailed from countries including France, Britain, Romania, and Belgium.
Additionally, in 1990, a nightclub fire in Spain's northeastern city of Zaragoza claimed the lives of 43 people.