Türkiye | At least 29 dead in fire in Istanbul following illegal work

(Istanbul) At least 29 people were killed Tuesday in a huge fire that broke out in the basement of a residential building in Istanbul, where workers were carrying out unauthorized renovation work at a nightclub.

The disaster broke out at midday, according to the governor, leaving black marks visible on the first four floors of the building which has sixteen, all entirely evacuated.

In a press release published in the evening, the town hall of the Besiktas district, where the fire occurred, announced that it had not received “any request for authorization” from the owners of the the discotheque nor the contractor “concerning a possible renovation of the premises”.

“No permit had been issued nor any information provided,” she insists, promising “to follow the matter and keep the population informed.”

The governor of Istanbul, Davut Gül, announced that the fire broke out during work carried out in the club located in the basement of the building.

All the workers died, he added. Without specifying whether all the victims were indeed employed on the site.


The “Club Masquerade”, a popular establishment in Gayrettepe, in the central district of Besiktas, had several stages and regularly hosted concerts.

“I lost four friends,” said Fikret Kaya, a forty-year-old who rushed with the grieving relatives of the victims. Not far away, a woman stood with her head in her hands, her face hidden by her black cap.

A very strong smell of burning continued to loom at the entrance to the club in the evening and the police maintained large numbers of troops around.

“Closed during Ramadan”

“The club was closed during Ramadan,” reported a 46-year-old local resident, Erkan Karakoç.

A large number of emergency services were mobilized and at the end of the day, around twenty ambulances and fire trucks remained parked in the street, blocked to traffic and pedestrians, AFP noted.

At the entrance to the street, at a distance from the building with the blackened facade, three firefighters, their faces and equipment soiled with soot, were seated, prostrate, while another passed by, with a blank stare, his helmet on. hand.

It was only late in the afternoon that Governor Davut Gül announced that the fire had been brought under control.

According to a final report from its services, in addition to the deceased people, one injured person was still hospitalized in serious condition.

According to the governor, five then “eight people were arrested”, including the owner and manager of the nightclub, as well as the boss of the metallurgy company responsible for the work.

“An investigation was opened following the fire in Gayrettepe, in the Besiktas district of Istanbul. Two inspectors went to the site,” Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya confirmed on X, without further details.

“A fire broke out in a (nightclub) located in the basement of a 16-story residential building in Gayrettepe, in the Besiktas district,” the governor announced, specifying that the disaster had broken out “at 12:47 p.m.

All afternoon, the reports continued to evolve and most of the twelve seriously injured initially announced gradually died despite being transferred to hospital.

The “Club Masquerade”, a popular establishment in Gayrettepe, in the central district of Besiktas, had several stages and regularly hosted concerts. He received his license in 1987, which was renewed in 2018, Mr. Gül said, which the municipality confirmed in its press release.

On the other hand, the local media quickly cast doubt, as is often the case in Turkey, on the regularity of the work undertaken, emphasizing that the establishment which could accommodate between 1,500 and 2,000 people did not have any emergency exit although located underground. ground.

In addition, its support columns had been sawn off, making it particularly vulnerable in the event of an earthquake, they reported.

The mayor of Istanbul re-elected on Sunday, Ekrem Imamoglu, who visited the site, confirmed that “the fire has been brought under control” and offered his “condolences”.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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