A birthday celebration in a Spanish nightclub on Sunday morning turned into a tragic nightmare as a fire claimed the lives of at least 13 people.
The fire broke out at the “Teatre” nightclub, also known as “Fonda Milagros,” a two-storey venue in Spain. Firefighters received the initial alert at approximately 6:00 am local time and immediately rushed to the scene.
However, it wasn’t until around 0800 GMT that they were able to enter the nightclub, where they discovered four bodies. Approximately forty minutes later, two more victims were found, bringing the total death toll to seven.
“I think we left 30 seconds to 1 minute before the alarms went off and all the lights went out (and) the screams saying there was a fire,” one survivor, who was not identified, said.
“Five family members and two friends are missing.”
Diego Seral, of Spain’s National Police, told reporters the dead were found in the Fonda nightclub, one of three adjoining clubs, which had sustained the majority of fire damage, including the collapse of its roof, he added.
The collapse was making it difficult to locate victims, and it was difficult to pinpoint yet where exactly the fire started, he said.
Thick smoke billowed from the roof of the club, and photos released by emergency services showed fire trucks spraying water hoses onto the blackened facade.
A police spokesperson revealed that the tragic incident occurred during a birthday party at the club on Saturday night. Notably, not all attendees had been accounted for at the time of the report, raising concerns about the potential for more victims.
The fire was believed to have originated on the nightclub’s first floor, according to Diego Seral, the national police spokesman.
In addition to the fatalities, four individuals sustained injuries in the blaze. Two women, aged 22 and 25, and two men in their forties suffered from smoke inhalation and were among those receiving medical attention.
The mayor of Murcia, Jose Ballesta, declared three days of mourning for the city, expressing deep regret over the tragic accident and extending condolences to those affected. Over 40 firefighters and 12 emergency vehicles were dispatched to the scene to manage the fire and its aftermath.