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Six charged in Spain over nightclub fire deaths

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Six charged in Spain over nightclub fire deaths
Relatives attend a memorial service in Murcia, southern Spain on October 18, 2023 three weeks after a deadly fire killed 13 in nightclub. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP)

Six people have been charged in Spain as part of a manslaughter probe into a deadly fire that killed 13 people inside a nightclub in October, a court said Monday.

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Spain's deadliest nightclub fire in three decades broke out in the Fonda Milagros club in the southeastern city of Murcia in the early hours of October 1 and then spread to a neighbouring venue called Teatre as patrons rushed to escape.

Among those charged are "the managers and administrators" of the two nightclubs, a Murcia court which is investigating the blaze said in a statement.

Also charged was the owner of a cold spark machine -- a special effects device that creates a fountain of sparks without heat or flame -- used at Teatre the night of the fire.

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The court did not say Monday what role the machine was suspected of playing, but ordered an examination of the machine.

Nine people who were at the nightclubs and were injured by the flames or smoke have been summoned to testify as witnesses, the court added.

Prosecutors have said that if the deaths are found to have been caused by negligence or inadequate safety measures, those responsible could face up to nine years in jail.

All of the fatalities happened in the Fonda Milagros establishment.

Most of the victims were so badly burned that the authorities had to ask their relatives to provide DNA samples in order to identify the bodies.

Murcia city hall has said the Fonda Milagros nightclub had been ordered to shut down in October 2022 because it lacked a proper licence but it had kept operating. The managers of the nightclub said they had their papers in order.

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