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Brazil Club Fire: Owner Blames Whole Country
The co-owner of a Brazilian nightclub where more than 230 people died in a fire is blaming "the whole country" for the disaster, his lawyer said.
Jader Marques said his client Elissandro Spohr "regretted having ever been born" because of his grief over the inferno, but that he blamed the tragedy on "a succession of errors made by the whole country".
Police have said a country music band performing at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria lit a flare that ignited flammable soundproof foam in the ceiling.
Those trying to flee were further hampered by a catastrophic lack of fire alarms and sprinkler systems. The club also had only one working door and a faulty fire extinguisher.
Mr Marques said: "My client's responsibility is having trusted too much in the inspectors and in those responsible for the construction."
He also claimed public officials had signed off on the club's layout.
Brazil's Health Minister Alexandre Padilha has urged survivors to be on alert for symptoms of "chemical pneumonia" after the number of people injured rose to 143 following 22 new hospital admissions for the condition.
The blaze has also claimed another life - a 21-year-old man with burns covering 70% of his body whose brother was also killed in the club.
The G1 internet portal quoted their mother Eliane Goncalves as saying: "When they went out at night, I blessed them.
"I asked myself how I would be able to sleep with both my boys out. But what could I do, follow them? God bless them."
Police have detained Spohr, the club's other co-owner and two musicians who were playing in the club when the fire broke out, and are holding them for five days as part of the investigation.
Spohr is recovering from a respiratory infection and is said to be suffering from depression in police custody at a hospital in a nearby town.
Mr Marques denied reports that overcrowding helped cause Sunday's tragedy, insisting there were only 600 to 700 people in the club at any one time.
Capacity for the 615 square metre nightspot stood at less than 700, though the band's guitarist told media that the space was packed with an estimated 1,200 to 1,300 people. Police have given similar estimates.
Authorities have said that of the 143 people still in hospital, more than 70 are still in life-threateningly critical states.
The governor of Sao Paulo has responded to calls for tighter regulation by ordering more thorough inspections of venues including nightclubs, cinemas and theatres.