Nightclub Fire Leaves 29 Dead in Istanbul

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Istanbul's Gairetepe district was engulfed in tragedy today, 2nd April, as a fire broke out following an explosion in a 16-storey building used as a nightclub. The death toll has now climbed to 29, with the victims primarily being workers caught inside the inferno.

The disaster unfolded shortly before 13:00 local time, triggered by an explosion during renovation work at the Masquerade nightclub's basement. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, present at the scene, revealed that no proper permits had been secured for the renovation, indicating illegal activity. "It's two floors down, so (the site) is not visible. There was no complaint. There was an illegal encroachment," he stated.

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan engaged with Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya for updates. Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc disclosed that three prosecutors had initiated a preliminary investigation, leading to the arrest of six individuals connected to the tragedy, including company partners, directors, accountant, and contractor.

Istanbul Prefect Davut Gul highlighted that the nightclub had been licenced since 1987, with a recent renewal in 2018. However, questions arose about the safety measures in place, particularly regarding escape routes during emergencies.

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Experts, speaking on Turkish television networks, underscored a potential catastrophe averted due to the nightclub being closed for renovations. They noted the presence of flammable materials inside the venue and speculated on significantly higher casualties if patrons were present. Authorities are now probing whether adequate safety protocols, including escape routes, were established.

(Source: In.gr)

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