MURCIA, Spain: At least 13 people were killed in a fire in a Spanish nightclub on Sunday morning, authorities said, with fears the toll could still rise as rescue workers sift through the debris.
The fire appears to have broken out in a building housing the “Teatre” and “Fonda Milagros” clubs in the city of Murcia in southeastern Spain in the early morning hours.
“The fire spread from the upper parts of the two clubs, the Teatra disco and the Fonda Milagros disco... which originally were in the same building,” said Diego Seral, spokesman for the national police.
Authorities do not yet know where exactly the fire started.
Police have established a list of 15 people missing after the blaze, but Seral said that it was not yet final and could contain names of some of the victims who had already been found.
A man named Jairo who said he was the father of one of the victims told reporters that his 28-year-old daughter was inside one of the clubs and that he did not have news of her since she left a desperate voice mail at 6:06 am.
“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 shout to turn the lights on.
Emergency services said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that firefighters were continuing to work at the scene and had not ruled out “the possibility of finding more victims.”
Jose Ballesta, mayor of Murcia, said the fire had broken out at around 6:00 am local time (0400 GMT) and was “extremely serious”.
Ballesta told the 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 7:00 am were able to extinguish the fire by 8:00 am, he said.
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.
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 Sanchez voiced “solidarity with the victims and relatives of the tragic fire in a Murcia nightclub”.
Spain’s tennis superstar and this year’s Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz wrote on X that he was “very affected by the terrible news”. The city’s mayor announced that three days of mourning would be held, and set up a reception base for the relatives of victims. The city’s bars and restaurants will remain closed on Sunday in a sign of respect to the victims, said Hoytu, the local hotel-restaurant association. In 2017, 40 people were injured 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.