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At least 13 killed as fire tears through 3 Spanish nightclubs

Emergency services warned that the number of dead may rise as a search effort continues.
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At least 13 people were killed when a fire tore through three nightclubs on the outskirts of the Spanish city of Murcia, officials said Sunday.

The blaze broke out at the Teatre nightclub in Atalayas, the southeastern city's Emergency Coordination Center said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Clouds of smoke rose from the venue in images the city's fire department posted to X, while others showed the building's blackened facade. The photos also showed that fire had destroyed part of the roof.

The department said 40 firefighters and 12 vehicles had been deployed to tackle the blaze, which broke out in early Sunday.

Officials provided regular updates as the death toll rose during the morning. In the latest posted to X, the Emergency Coordination Center said 13 people had died and four people had been injured.

It went on to warn that the number of deaths could rise and said a team of psychologists would assist the relatives of the victims.

Offering “condolences to the family and friends of the victims,” Spain’s National Police said on X that forensic investigators had been sent to the scene.

The dead 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, Diego Seral of the police told reporters, according to Reuters.

The collapse was making it difficult to locate victims, and it was hard to pinpoint yet where exactly the fire started, he said, adding that identifying the bodies would take time.

Murcia Mayor José Ballesta said on X that emergency services were continuing to work to establish the cause of the blaze.

In a separate post, Ballesta announced a three-day mourning period for the dead. He also offered “strength and encouragement” to the victims’ families. Flags were also lowered to half-staff outside City Hall.

Teatre Murcia did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

In a statement posted to Instagram on Sunday night local time, the Fonda nightclub expressed condolences for the victims and support for "the people injured in this tragic incident."

"We also want to communicate that, since the first moment, we have been collaborating with the competent authorities, in whom we fully trust for the clarification of the facts, refraining from making statements until the end of the investigation to determine the real cause of what happened," the statement continued, according to a translation.