At least 13 people were killed on Sunday after a fire broke out in a nightclub complex in southeastern Spain, the authorities said, adding that the number of victims could rise as emergency workers continued to search through the damaged structure.
The police and firefighters in Murcia, Spain, rushed to the Teatre complex, which had been subdivided into at least two nightclubs, after receiving reports of a fire around 6 a.m. local time. The Murcia municipal government declared three days of official mourning to honor those killed in the fire, town mayor José Ballesta wrote on social media, lowering the Spanish flag to half-staff outside the city hall.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze later Saturday morning, before entering the building to to search for victims, according to the emergency service. The authorities also set up a relief center at a local sports venue to provide support for victim’s loved ones, the Spanish police said in a statement.
Most of the damage and the casualties were sustained in the Fonda Milagros club, Diego Seral, a spokesman for the Spanish National Police, told reporters at the scene. The blaze caused major structural damage and caused part of the building to cave in, Mr. Seral said, hampering work by the police and firefighters.
“The conditions continue to be extremely difficult,” Mr. Ballesta said. The teams “are working in hellish circumstances,” he said, adding they would attempt to shore up the building to prevent further collapse.
Mr. Ballesta said responders were still looking through the wreckage of the hollowed-out clubs “in order to extract all of the bodies.”
Video released by Murcia’s fire department on Sunday shows firefighters inside the building, passing half-finished drink left on bar tables by patrons as they fired
high-pressure water at large flames.
The authorities did not immediately indicate a cause for the fire. The flames spread widely in the upper half of the complex, but investigators were still attempting to determine where the fire had begun, Mr. Seral told reporters.
At least four people — two women, 22 and 25, and two men, 41 and 45 — were wounded in the fire after inhaling smoke, Murcia’s emergency services said in a statement on Sunday. Another 15 people remained missing as of Sunday afternoon, Mr. Seral said in a television interview with RTVE, the country’s public broadcaster.
In a statement, Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish prime minister, voiced “love and solidarity with the victims and families” of “the tragic fire.” “Thanks to the emergency services deployed at the scene for their work,” he wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Fernando López Miras, the president of the region of Murcia — of which Murcia city is the capital — declared that the state of mourning in the city would also apply across the area.
“Today is a day of mourning and pain,” Mr. López Miras said. “My condolences to family and friends, and all my love in these moments of so much pain that we share,” he added.