A DEADLY nightclub fire in Spain’s Murcia that killed 13 people on October 1, 2023 was caused ‘accidently’ due to ‘negligence’ in the use of a spark machine inside the venue. That’s according to a police report drafted as part of the ongoing investigation into the tragic accident.
The report, to which Spanish daily El Pais had access, is based on inspections carried out by forensic police from Madrid, who examined the remains of the burnt out Teatre and Fonda Milagros nightclubs between October 2 and 11.
Their conclusions have now been sent to the court in Murcia charged with investigating the fire, which could see suspects in the case – the managers and administrators of the nightclubs – face 13 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The report found that the spark machine started the fire in the DJ booth in the Teatre, because it was being operated too close to the false ceiling, which ended up catching fire.
The fire started in Teatre, but quickly spread to the adjoining Fonda Milagros, which is where all of the victims lost their lives.
Police inspectors cited videos and photos taken that night that showed the sparks directly hitting the false ceiling, and also proved that the safe distance of 1.5 metres between the machine and any surface was not being respected.
There were also other security issues, including fire doors that were closed with padlocks or blocked by grilles.
After the deadly blaze it was reported that one of the nightclubs, Fonda Milagros, did not have an operating licence and had been ordered to close back in January 2022.
No one from Murcia’s city council was subsequently able to explain why there were no more inspections to ensure the nightclub was observing the closure order.
The force of the blaze was such that only six of the victims could be identified using fingerprints, and DNA testing was used for the remaining cases.
The clubs were popular with Latin Americans in Murcia, and in fact all of the victims were from that community.