Interrupted Revelry

It was a grisly weekend elsewhere in Europe too. Alcala 20, a popular Madrid discothèque, was still crowded with some 500 revelers spending their Christmas bonuses early Saturday morning when the plastic curtains above the stage caught fire. Within minutes a fireball engulfed the basement dance hall, trapping many people in the cloakroom. Others suffocated or were crushed to death as they stampeded up the stairs through thick clouds of smoke toward exits that had been blocked to prevent more people from entering. The police could not immediately determine how the blaze had...

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