Victims are trampled or crushed trying to escape after a fight led to pepper spray being discharged...

Twenty people have died after a fight in a CHICAGO nightclub turned into a stampede.

According to the Chicago Tribune, as of 7am local time, 20 people were declared dead, while another 20 critically injured in a crush at the Epitome nightclub in the city’s south side during the early hours of this morning (February 17).

The report states that 1,500 people were estimated to have been inside the club when a fight broke out around 3am, and someone, possibly security staff, discharged pepper spray. Many victims were trampled or crushed as they rushed down a staircase leading to the front door.

Fire crews had to cut locks off the back doors of the venue to get people out of the building, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesoman Will Knight. Four people were pronounced dead at the scene, and 19 people were taken to hospital with cardiac arrest.

Medics set up a treatment area at the site.