At least 13 people dead in nightclub fire in Spain

At least 13 people have been killed after a fire ripped through adjoining nightclubs in Murcia, southeast Spain, according to the local authorities.

Rescuers have warned that the death toll could still rise as they search for people unaccounted for after the blaze.

The fire started in the early hours of Sunday morning in the Teatre nightclub and affected another two venues, emergency services said.

Those who died 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, said Diego Seral, from Spain’s National Police.

Four more people have been treated in hospital for smoke inhalation. 

The collapse was making it difficult to find victims, and it was difficult to establish where exactly the fire started, he said.

He added that the identification of the bodies would take time and that the cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Murcia’s Mayor, Jose Ballesta, told reporters that seven bodies had been found in the same area of the first floor, where the fire broke out.

He declared three days of mourning and the flags were lowered to half mast outside Murcia’s City Hall.

“We are devastated,” he told Spanish TV channel 24h, adding that the search for several missing people is still underway.

Spanish media reported that several birthday celebrations were taking place at the time.

“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,” said a survivor, who was not identified.

“Five family members and two friends are missing.”

A spokesperson for the Teatre nightclub, Maria Dolores Albellan, told reporters the fire originated in the neighbouring club, La Fonda, before spreading to the two adjoining clubs.

Additional reporting from agencies.