Blaze Kills 9 at Nightclub in Dominican Republic

Fire struck a nightclub after it had closed early Monday, killing nine employees who lived on the floor above the establishment, officials said.

The fire at Jazzys was already out by the time neighbors notified authorities of the blaze at around 4 a.m., said Col. Rafael Javier Bueno of the East Santo Domingo fire department.

The victims, including six women and three men, died of smoke inhalation and were found on the second floor. They were the only people inside the building at the time of the blaze.

"Everyone who was inside the club died," Bueno said.

A preliminary investigation indicated a short-circuit caused the fire, national police chief Bernardo Santana Paez said.

The fire was confined to the interior of the two-story building, located in a rough neighborhood in the eastern end of the capital. The exterior, with the stylized teardrop-shaped windows of an Arabian palace, did not show any signs of damage.

Both of the building's exits had been locked from inside and damage to a rear door suggested that neighbors tried to break in for a rescue attempt, Bueno said.

Family members stood outside the building Monday morning, some of them weeping.

The club had apparently closed a few hours before the fire started. In a bid to combat crime, the government imposed a law in July requiring all bars and nightclubs to close at midnight on weekdays and at 2 a.m. on weekends.