Istanbul [Turkey], April 3: At least 29 people died when a fire erupted at an Istanbul nightclub undergoing renovations, the Istanbul Governor's Office said on Tuesday.
One person is being treated in hospital for serious injuries, the office said. Investigations continue into the cause of the fire. The fire burned through the 16-storey building in the Besiktas district, on the city's European side.
The office said the fire broke out around midday Tuesday on the building's lower floors, where the Masquerade nightclub is located.
Images showed the burned wall of the building. The exact cause was unclear, but the fire could have started during the ongoing building renovations, the office said.
The Umut-Sen trade union said "workers" had died and mentioned an explosion, without citing the source of the information. Six people have already been detained, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported, including the manager of the club and the person responsible for the construction work.
Police and the fire brigade have cordoned off the area around the blaze.
The fire broke out just after midday, Istanbul governor Davut Gül said, adding that the cause was unclear.
Gül said that the victims of the fire were thought to have been involved in the renovation work.
A number of people, including the nightclub manager and a person responsible for the renovations, have had warrants out for their arrest in connection with the fire as investigations continue.
Firefighters and other first responders surrounded the charred and smoking entrance to the club, which occupies two floors underneath a 16-storey residential building in the city's Gayrettepe district.
The number of victims has rapidly increased throughout the afternoon, with the governor's office issuing a string of updates. The newly re-elected Mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, said the club had not applied for the correct construction permit.
"There is no application [to the local municipality] for a renovation or a construction regarding the place and as it was two floors down from the ground level, it [the work] wasn't visible," he said.
He also offered his condolences on social media to the victims.
"May God have mercy on our citizens who lost their lives, and I wish a speedy recovery to our injured," he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is aware of the tragedy following a phone call with interior minister Ali Yerlikaya.
Source: Qatar Tribune