Five people detained after 29 die in daytime fire at Istanbul nightclub

A daytime fire at a central Istanbul nightclub that was closed for renovations has killed at least 29 people, as five people, including managers, were detained for questioning.

Firefighters and other first responders surrounded the charred and smoking entrance to the Masquerade nightclub, which occupies two floors underneath a 16-storey residential building in the Gayrettepe area of the Beşiktaş district on the European side of the Turkish city.

At least one person was being treated in hospital, the Istanbul governor’s office said in a statement. Police sealed off the area while gas and electricity to the neighbourhood was cut off as a safety precaution.

The governor, Davut Gül, told reporters at the scene that the cause of the fire was under investigation and the victims were believed to be involved in the renovation work.

Istanbul’s mayor, Ekrem İmamoğlu, said authorities were inspecting the entire building to assess its safety.

The nightclub was closed for the holy Muslim month of 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.

The nightclub had not obtained the necessary permit to undertake construction and renovations, the mayor said.

Three prosecutors are investigating the fire and five people were ordered to be detained, Turkey’s justice minister, Yılmaz Tunç, said.

Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

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