A deadly fire broke out in a nightclub in the Spanish city of Murcia in the early hours of Sunday, killing at least seven people and injuring four others. Emergency services are still searching through the charred remains of the building for survivors.
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The fire breaks out
The fire started around 6am local time at a nightclub in Murcia, located in southeastern Spain. According to mayor Jose Ballesta, 12 fire engines and 40 firefighters were dispatched to battle the blaze. Dramatic photos shared on social media showed the building engulfed in flames and smoke pouring out of the structure.
“We are devastated,” Ballesta said in an interview on Spanish TV channel 24h. “Rescuers were still searching for other victims.”
The mayor said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. He declared three days of mourning in the city and canceled all events scheduled for Sunday.
At least seven killed
By 10am, the mayor announced on social media that the fire had been extinguished. However, the initial death toll stands at seven, with more victims feared trapped inside. Four other people were injured and transported to local hospitals.
“The death toll is likely to increase, as some patrons are still missing,” said emergency services spokesman Juan Martinez.
Rescue crews are painstakingly going through the charred ruins in search of any additional victims. Sniffer dogs are also being used to help locate missing people.
“It’s a complex operation because the fire caused significant structural damage, making some areas unsafe for our crews,” Martinez explained. “We are working as swiftly as possible while maintaining safety protocols.”
Nightclub popular among youth
The nightclub, called Pulso, was a popular late-night destination, particularly with university students and young adults in the area. It had a maximum capacity of 500 people. On weekend nights, it was routinely filled to capacity.
Investigators are working to determine exactly how many people were inside when the fire broke out in the early morning hours, as the club was scheduled to remain open until 6am.
“We believe there may have still been over 100 patrons inside, along with over a dozen staff members,” said police chief Javier Santos. “Interviews with survivors and witnesses will help provide an accurate count.”
Previous safety violations
According to city records, the nightclub had been cited multiple times in recent years for fire safety violations. Violations included having expired fire extinguishers, non-working emergency exits, and overloaded electrical wiring.
“We had fined the owners and ordered them to remedy these violations, but it appears that did not happen to an adequate degree,” said building safety inspector Carla Rodriguez.
The nightclub also lacked a sprinkler system, which allowed the fire to spread rapidly once it broke out, according to fire marshal Diego Ortiz.
Families mourn victims
Families of the victims mourned the tragic loss of life throughout Sunday. Parent Guillermo Santos told reporters, “My only daughter was just 22 years old. She had her whole life ahead of her. I don’t understand how this could happen.”
The University of Murcia held a candlelight vigil for the students lost in the fire. “It’s devastating for our community,” said university president Ana Lopez.
Makeshift memorials with flowers and candles sprung up near the site of the burned building. Passersby stopped to pray and pay their respects throughout the day.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez voiced his condolences and pledged a full investigation.
“My thoughts are with the families of the victims of the tragic fire in Murcia,” he tweeted. “We will work to understand how this tragedy occurred and prevent similar tragedies in the future.”
President of the Region of Murcia Fernando López Miras declared three days of regional mourning. “In these moments of pain, all the people of the region stand in solidarity with the families and friends of the victims,” he stated.
The regional prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into the deadly fire. Arson has not been ruled out as a potential cause.
“We will conduct a thorough investigation to determine responsibility for these tragic deaths,” said prosecutor Miguel Fuentes. The club owners could face criminal negligence or homicide charges if found liable, Fuentes confirmed.
Fire safety officials will also conduct an audit of other nightlife venues in Murcia to check for compliance with regulations, according to Mayor Ballesta.
The deadly nightclub blaze has shaken the community and raised concerns over fire risks in crowded social venues. As Murcia mourns, many hope the tragedy will spur improved safety standards to prevent this kind of loss in the future.
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