ISTANBUL, April 4 — Illegal welding work at an Istanbul nightclub started a fire that killed at least 29 people in a residential block, according to a video published by the Turkish Interior Minister yesterday.

Released CCTV footage shows a worker welding a metal object with a blowtorch in the building when flames suddenly erupt and thick smoke billows out into Turkiye’s economic capital.

The fire broke out at midday on Tuesday at the Masquerade Club, a large nightclub housed in the basement of the 16-storey apartment block in the Gayrettepe neighbourhood of Besiktas district.

“The investigation... into the incident is continuing,” said Turkiye’s Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya in a message published with the video on X, formerly Twitter.

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The Besiktas town hall on Tuesday said that it had not received “any request for authorisation” from the owners of the nightclub or from the contractor “concerning a possible renovation of the premises”.

Nine people were arrested following the fire, including the owner and manager of the nightclub and the owner of the metalworking company responsible for the work, the Istanbul governorate said.

According to Yerlikaya, the 29 people killed were workers and none of the residents present when the fire broke out died. The club had been closed for works. — AFP

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