232 die in Brazilian nightclub fire

Most death appeared to have been due to smoke inhalation

SANTA MARIA, Brazil | January 27, 2013


The death toll from a fire at a nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, has been decreased from 245 to 232, officials said.

Col. Guido Pedroso de Melo, the commander of the city's fire department, said emergency responders counted at least 232 dead, down from a previous estimate of 245, The New York Times reported.

Most of the deaths at the Kiss nightclub appeared to have been the result of smoke inhalation, CNN reported.

Col. Adilomar Silva, the regional coordinator of civil defense, said the death toll was expected to rise as firefighters were still pulling bodies out of the club.

Silva said the acoustic insulation in the nightclub caught fire, adding that a pyrotechnics show going on inside the club when the fire started.

The fire broke out around 2 a.m. local time with an estimated 400 people in the club, CNN said.

There was reportedly only one exit door, O Globo, Rio de Janeiro, said.

"It was a small door for a lot of people" Luana Santos Silva, who was at the nightclub, told O Globo. Santa Maria is home to the Federal University of Santa Maria, as well as a number of other universities, most of which resume classes Monday after summer break.

The injured were taken to three hospitals, the newspaper said.

Rio Grande do Sul Gov. Tarso Genro took to Twitter to lament the fire.

"Sad Sunday! We are taking appropriate action and possible. I'll be in Santa Maria in the late morning," Genro tweeted.

Speaking from Chile where she was attending a regional summit, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said she plans to head to Santa Maria later Sunday.

"The Brazilian people are the ones who need me today," she said. "I want to tell the people of Santa Maria in this time of sadness that we are all together."

The fire ranks among the deadliest nightclub fires in recent memory, with more victims than a 2003 fire in Rhode Island that killed 100 people and a nightclub fire in 2004 in Buenos Aires in which 194 were killed, The New York Times reported.

2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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