UK & World News
Brazil Nightclub Fire: More Than 230 Dead
More than 230 people have been killed after a fire sparked a stampede in a packed nightclub in southern Brazil.
Around 117 others were injured after the blaze broke out while a band, called Gurizada Fandangueira, was performing at the Kiss club in the university city of Santa Maria.
It is thought the band may have lit flares on stage and the building's soundproofing caught fire, filling the club with acrid smoke.
Fire chief Guido de Melo said there was panic after the fire started and many revellers were trampled. He said the main cause of death was asphyxiation.
Mr Melo said that firefighters had a hard time getting inside the club because "there was a barrier of bodies blocking the entrance".
There was only one exit in the building.
One survivor Michele Pereira told a local newspaper that she was near the stage when members of the band lit flares.
"The band that was onstage began to use flares and, suddenly, they stopped the show and pointed them upward," she said.
"At that point, the ceiling caught fire. It was really weak, but in a matter of seconds it spread."
The band's guitarist Rodrigo Martins told Radio Gaucha that they started playing at 2.15am.
"We had played around five songs when I looked up and noticed the roof was burning," he said.
"It might have happened because of the Sputnik, the machine we use to create a luminous effect with sparks. It's harmless, we never had any trouble with it.
"When the fire started, a guard passed us a fire extinguisher, the singer tried to use it but it wasn't working."
He confirmed that accordion player Danilo Jacques, 28, died, while the five other members made it out safely.
Police Major Cleberson Braida Bastianello said that 233 had died and that the death toll was likely made worse because the nightclub appeared to have just one exit through which patrons could exit.
Partygoers joined firefighters in wielding axes and sledgehammers, pounding at windows and walls to break through to those trapped inside.
Teenagers sprinted from the scene desperately trying to find help - others carried injured and burned friends away in their arms.
Michele Schneid, a 22-year-old cashier, told local media that people began to shout "Fire!", setting off the stampede.
"Many people ran for the bathrooms and wound up dying suffocated," he said.
Brazilian President Dilma Roussef†has cancelled a series of meetings at a summit of Latin American and European leaders in Chile's capital Santiago, and headed to Santa Maria.
"It is a tragedy for all of us. I am not going to continue in the meeting (in Chile) for very clear reasons," she said.
Santa Maria Mayor Cezar Schirmer declared a 30-day mourning period, and Tarso Genro, the governor of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, said officials were investigating the cause of the disaster.
Britain's Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said:†"I am deeply saddened by the news of the tragic accident in Santa Maria.
"My thoughts and sincere condolences are with the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives, and I wish a swift recovery to the hundreds who are now being treated in hospital."
The blaze was the deadliest in Brazil since at least 1961, when a fire that swept through a circus killed 503 people in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro.
what do you think?
Oh how awful.such a huge loss of life in a fire in a nightclub.proberly no emergency exits.r.i.p.
Shaun have you not read the article? It clearly states there was only ONE fire exit.! Such sad loss of many lives but begs the question of why have pyrotechnics inside a nightclub? Absolutely ridiculous and the owners/organizers should face criminal charges. God Bless one and all.
Thank goodness we have people like keith to put us straight.....none....one .... does it matter !!!
It didnt say anything at all about fire exits when this news item first came on orange.i just guessed it must be with so so many dead.
And keith i did read the news item properly. Thank you and as i said the news was very vague and there was no mention of either casulties or fire exits in it.i guessed it might have something to do with the lack of fire exits as the news then did say many feared dead.but had no idea it would end up to be this many.terrible news.
Sadly these countries don't have the same Health and Safety procedures that we have. RIP to all those who have died. A terrible loss of life
Very sad those poor people RIP Xxx
Awful :( very much a similar situation to the Station nightclub fire and also the one at Santika. R.I.P
My eldest daughter just said the band let off a flair just been on sky news. Stupid thing to so if correct
so sad... an unnecessary lose of lives!!
The security guard said it was at its maximum capacity of between 1000 and 2000 people (which is a very big variation for a maximum capacity - normally maximum capacity is a single figure); with 1 Fire Exit just 1 for up to 2000 people! There is no way the Authourities could not have forseen this tradgedy occuring!
A shocking number of people. And this is the country that has been awarded the World Cup and the Olympics.
exactly! it's alright giving these big events to countries like brazil, but are they actually capable of staging them in a well run and safe manner. i think we saw a lot of these type of problems with india and the commonwealth games
This incident has bearing on their capability to host a major event. It's absurd to assume a tragedy makes an entire country inept.
When i made my first comment the news item only said that some were feared dead and was very vague, certainly no mention of fire exits.since then the death toll rose to 90 which was a shock.then to 130 another shock, now 230 and another shock.truely a shocking afternoon.again r.i.p
O Rio Grande chora a perda de seus filhos!
Sad story but shouldn't be drinking and listening to music at first place. May we all be guide.
Maturitysith Orient - what?? that's just dumb. actually, you're not supposed to be EATING and listening to music. no wait... that's dumb also.