Dozens killed in fire at Istanbul nightclub closed for renovations

A fire that raged from the basement of a 16-storey block in central Istanbul left at least 29 people dead Tuesday, with flames and thick smoke billowing for hours despite a massive emergency response.

By late afternoon around 20 fire trucks and ambulances were still crowded around the building, where builders had been working on a nightclub in the basement.

A police cordon kept onlookers and traffic 100 metres (yards) away from the scorched facade, while an AFP reporter saw three exhausted firefighters sat on the ground with smoke-blackened faces and equipment.

The fire began at 12:47 (09:47 GMT), the city governor's office said, but it was only in the late afternoon that Davut Gul's team announced the blaze was out.

As well as the 29 killed, one hurt person was still being treated in hospital, his office said.

It was not immediately clear whether the victims dies from smoke inhalation or from the flames.

"An investigation has been opened into the fire that occurred in Gayrettepe (neighbourhood) in the Besiktas district of Istanbul," Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya posted on X.

According to the governor's office, workmen had been renovating the basement nightclub when the fire broke out.

All the men working on the site were dead, the governor's office said, adding that it had "issued five arrest warrants", including for the club's owner and manager.

"Three of the suspects have been arrested and two more are being sought," it added.

Mounting toll

The authority had earlier reported that the fire broke out in the below-ground levels of the 16-storey block in Besiktas.


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