ISTANBUL: A fire killed at least 29 people in a 16-storey residential building in Istanbul on Tuesday (Apr 2,) the governor of Türkiye’s economic capital said.

“The number of people who lost their lives in the fire … in Gayrettepe of Besiktas district has increased to 29,” governor Davut Gul’s office said in a statement, referring to the Istanbul neighbourhood.

“One person hurt in the fire was still being treated in hospital,” it added.

The fire began at 12.47pm local time (5.47pm, Singapore time), the office said and was only brought under control by firefighters hours later.

Television images showed flames and a column of thick smoke rushing from upper-storey windows.

The number of people reported killed and hurt rose throughout the afternoon in a string of statements from the governor’s office, as more victims succumbed to their injuries.

The blaze had broken out during construction work on the first and second floors below ground, which housed a nightclub, Gul told reporters.

“An investigation has been opened into the fire in Gayrettepe,” Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya posted on X.

Five people have been arrested at the scene in connection with the blaze, news channel NTV reported.

Istanbul’s newly re-elected mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who rushed to the scene, said “the fire is under control. Let’s hope there are no further victims”, offering his “condolences” to the relatives of the dead and injured.

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