ONE OF the nightclubs that went up in flames early on Sunday morning in Murcia did not have a licence and was ordered to close in January 2022. That’s according to the local council’s town planning chief, who spoke to reporters at a press conference on Monday.
La Fonda Milagros was one of three establishments on the outskirts of the city that were affected by the fire, and where the 13 victims that have been confirmed so far were located.
Antonio Navarro, a politician from the conservative Popular Party (PP), explained today that in June 2019 the company that runs that nightclub advised the local council that it had divided its buildings into two different establishments: La Fonda Milagros and the adjoining Teatre.
But the council rejected this change on the basis that a new licence would have to be issued, given the magnitude of the modification, Spanish daily El Pais reported.
This led to the closure order in January 2022, which the company then appealed. But this appeal was rejected, and in October 2022 the execution of the closure order was decreed by the council.
On Monday, however, no one from the council was able to explain why no inspection had subsequently taken place to ensure that the nightclub had actually obeyed the closure order.
Both Navarro and his predecessor, Andres Guerrero of the Socialist Party, eluded any responsibility for the situation and placed the blame squarely with the company and with the municipal inspectors for failing to enforce the closure.
The fire broke out shortly after 6am on Sunday morning in La Fonda Milagros, and ripped through the adjoining Teatre and Golden.
According to reports, the victims were located in the areas on the first floor of La Fonda Milagros that could be reserved for private parties. Several bodies were located on the ground floor but it is thought that they ended up there when the first floor collapsed due to the fire damage.
La Fonda Milagros was very popular with the Latin American community in Murcia. The authorities confirmed on Monday that among the victims are people who had Colombian, Nicaraguan and Ecuadorian nationalities, as well as one person with joint Spanish-Ecuadorian.