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Istanbul nightclub fire kills at least 29 as several people detained

At least 29 people were killed when an Istanbul building was engulfed by a fire that began in an underground nightclub undergoing renovation.

Several more were seriously injured in the blaze, which spread through a 16-storey block in the city’s Besiktas district.

Six people, including managers of the Masquerade club and a person in charge of the renovations, were detained for questioning, said the city’s governor Davut Gul.

Police officers stand next to a building after a fire broke out during daytime renovation work (REUTERS/Murad Sezer)
Police officers stand next to a building after a fire broke out during daytime renovation work (REUTERS/Murad Sezer)

The nightclub was closed for Ramadan and its owners were trying to complete the renovation work in time for next week’s Eid holiday, which follows the month of fasting, NTV reported. It is underneath residential apartments.

Footage showed white and black smoke billowing from the basement floors and flames rising to the third floor of the building. Corridors leading to the club’s entrance were completely charred.

Police sealed off the area while power and natural gas to the neighborhood was cut off as a safety precaution

Firefighters, with 31 vehicles and 86 personnel, quickly extinguished the flames and brought the situation under control, the governor’s office said, adding that efforts by rescue teams are ongoing at the site.

Masquerade can host up to 4,000 people with DJ performances and stage shows several times a week, its website says.

Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said authorities were inspecting the entire building to assess its safety. The nightclub had not obtained the necessary permit to undertake construction and renovations, he said.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report.