A devastating fire has killed at least 13 people in the south-eastern Spanish city of Murcia when three nightclubs went up in blazes. Started in Fonda Milagros nightclub – known as La Fonda – early on Sunday morning, it quickly engulfed neighboring clubs as panic erupted, police said.
Tragedies resulted from the catastrophic event as an entire family celebrating a birthday were among the dead, according to local media, and relatives are still awaiting news about their missing loved ones.
One attendee has not yet seen his cousin return at home and it is not yet clear if the cousin was among those confirmed victims, La Verdad de Murcia newspaper reported.
“I think we left 30 seconds to one minute before the alarms went off and all the lights went out (and) the screams saying there was a fire,” one survivor told the Reuters news agency.
As yet the cause for the calamity remains unknown, but Murcia’s Mayor Jose Ballesta told reporters earlier in the day that the fire had broken out on the first floor of the club and he did not rule out the possibility of foul play. “Anyone responsible, whether they are part of the government or an individual, will be brought to justice,” he said.
Diego Seral, of the national police, said the roof of La Fonda had collapsed, which was making it challenging to locate victims and work out what had happened.
A 28-year-old woman who had gone out to celebrate with friends sent a voice note to her mother when the fire had started, according to the La Verdad de Murcia newspaper, saying: “Mummy, I love you, we’re going to die.” It is not clear if she survived.
“They went because in Caravaca there are no nightclubs,” the woman’s father, named as Jairo, told the paper. “It was the second time she had been.”
Four people are being treated in hospital for smoke inhalation, and a local sports venue is being used to provide counselling for those affected.
“We are devastated,” Murcia Mayor Jose Ballesta said. He has decreed three days of mourning in Murcia.
Spain’s King Felipe VI has been among those to express his condolences.
“Pain and dismay as the tragic day in Murcia has progressed,” wrote a representative for the King on X (formerly Twitter).”Our solidarity with the families of the victims and with the entire city.”
The fire is believed to be the country’s worst such blaze in more than 30 years. In 1990, 43 people were killed in a nightclub in Zaragoza.