At least 13 people have been killed in Spain’s deadliest nightclub fire in decades, with fears the toll could rise further as emergency services search for more victims.
The cause of the blaze, which broke out early on Sunday at the Teatre venue in the southeastern city of Murcia, is not yet known.
Four others were injured: two women, aged 22 and 25, and two men, aged 41 and 45, who were all taken to the hospital due to smoke inhalation, the Murcia emergency services website said.
Survivors gathered outside the nightclub described the scene to journalists as emergency services carried out their work.
“I think we left (the club) 30 seconds – 1 minute before the alarms went off and all the lights went out the screams saying there was a fire. I was at place at that time where I could get out, but five family members and two friends are missing,” an unidentified survivor told Reuters.
“We don’t know anything, we are waiting for news to see whether some of our family members have come out alive,” said another man at the scene.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez sent his condolences.
“My love and solidarity with the victims and families of the tragic fire that occurred this morning in a nightclub in Murcia. I have just conveyed to the president of the Murcia region all our support and collaboration,” Sanchez posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
At the time of the incident, emergency services were dispatched, with local firefighters calling in helicopter help to tackle the blaze.
“The General Director of Security and Emergencies, Ricardo Villalba, is on-site coordinating with the Murcia City Council the necessary means to manage this tragedy,” the emergency services said.
“The Vice President and Minister of the Interior, Emergencies and Territorial Planning, Jose Ángel Antelo, is expected to arrive at the site,” they added.
The fire in Murcia marks the deadliest nightclub fire in Spain in 33 years. A blaze in 1990 at a nightclub in northeastern Zaragoza left 43 dead.
In December 1983 81 people were killed in a nightclub blaze in Madrid, with smoke, a failure in the lighting system and a closed emergency door all contributing to the disaster.
Three days of mourning have been declared in the city of Murcia for “those who died in the fire that occurred at the Teatre de Atalayas nightclub”, Murcia mayor José Ballesta said on X.
An information area for relatives of the victims was set up in the nearby Palacio de los Deportes, where a team of psychologists will be tasked to provide assistance.