The death toll from a fire that destroyed three neighboring nightclubs in Murcia, Spain, is expected to rise as rescuers search for five more people who are still missing. At least 13 people died in the fire, according to The Guardian. Among the missing was a couple who had traveled from the neighboring town of Caravaca. A friend who had accompanied them to the club that night sent an audio message to her mother during the fire.
A friend who had accompanied them to the club that night sent an audio message to her mother during the fire
The fire in the southeastern city of Murcia broke out at around 6am on Sunday morning in the La Fonda club before spreading to neighboring clubs Teatre and Golden, authorities said.
Reports of the number of people missing have varied. Local newspaper La Verdad de Murcia quoted the city’s mayor, José Ballesta, as saying 18 people were reported missing. This number may include some of those already found.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Only three bodies had been identified by Sunday evening using fingerprints. Officials said identifying the other bodies could take days because DNA samples would need to be sent to Madrid for processing.
Among the missing are a couple, Jorge and Rosa Bajiota, who had traveled to Murcia from the neighboring town of Caravaca with two friends, according to El Mundo. The couple had three children.
A friend who had accompanied them to the club that night sent an audio message to her mother at the time of the fire, saying: “I love you mum. We’re going to die, mom, I love you.” In the background, people could be heard shouting for the lights to be turned on.
It was not clear if the 28-year-old woman was among the dead, but her father, identified in Spanish media only as Jairo, said he had not heard from her.
Ballesta said structural damage to the buildings made access very difficult.
“What we’re doing right now is trying to retrieve the bodies, secure the area, deal with the families, identify them, which is not easy at all,” Ballesta said.
Officials said four people – two women aged 22 and 25 and two men in their 40s – were treated for smoke inhalation.
“According to the first information, the fire broke out on the first floor of the nightclub, which has a ground floor and a first floor,” Diego Seral, spokesman for the national police, told Radio Onda Regional de Murcia.
11 of the 13 bodies recovered so far were found on the first floor of La Fonda, while two were found among the rubble on the ground floor. Police said the temperature in the nightclub could have reached between 1,000 and 1,500 degrees Celsius, according to La Verdad de Mercia.
One of the missing was Éric Hernández, a native of Nicaragua who was celebrating his 30th birthday with friends and family, including his brother Sergio and mother Marta, at the La Fonda club, the newspaper reported.
A cousin, Walter Hernández, who survived after leaving the group for a drink downstairs, said eight members of the party were missing.
The city declared three days of mourning for those who died, and flags were flown at half-mast in front of Murcia’s town hall.
Spain’s king said he felt “pain and dismay” following “this tragic day in Murcia” and thanked rescuers for their “exemplary work”.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed his “solidarity with the victims and relatives of the victims of the tragic fire in a night club in Murcia”.
Editor : A.C.