News / Americas

Brazil Arrests 4 After Deadly Nightclub Blaze

Cladimir Callegari, father of Mariana Callegari, one of the victims of a fire at Boate Kiss nightclub, cries during her funeral in the southern city of Santa Maria, Brazil, January 28, 2013.
Cladimir Callegari, father of Mariana Callegari, one of the victims of a fire at Boate Kiss nightclub, cries during her funeral in the southern city of Santa Maria, Brazil, January 28, 2013.
VOA News
Police in Brazil have arrested four people in connection with a nightclub fire that killed 231 people early Sunday.
 
Two club owners and two members of the band that was playing when the blaze broke out are in police custody. 
 
Map: Santa Maria, BrazilMap: Santa Maria, Brazil
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Map: Santa Maria, Brazil
Map: Santa Maria, Brazil
The fire quickly swept through the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, in the far south of the country, trapping people who fled to the only unlocked exit.  Most of the victims died from smoke inhalation or were trampled.  More than 100 people were injured.
 
The club was filled with university students.  Survivors say a band member shot fireworks toward the ceiling, triggering the blaze that engulfed the building.
 
Family members have begun the grim task of burying their loved ones.

Story continues below gallery
  • Relatives and friends mourn at the coffin containing the remains of a fire victim at a gym where bodies were brought for identification in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, January 27, 2013.
  • A man stands around coffins containing the remains of victims after the bodies were identified at a gymnasium in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, January 27, 2013.
  • Police inspect the entrance of the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, January 27, 2013.
  • A crowd stands outside the Kiss nightclub during a fire inside the club in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, January 27, 2013.
  • Injured people lie on the ground outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, January 27, 2013.
  • A man carries an injured victim of a fire at the Kiss club in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, January 27, 2013.
As the country mourns, Brazil canceled an event scheduled for Monday in the capital, Brasilia, marking the 500-day countdown to its hosting of the 2014 World Cup.
 
The disaster comes at a time Brazil is trying to show the rest of the world it is prepared to host next year's World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. 
 
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cut short a visit to Chile early Sunday to return home. 
 
Santa Maria is a major university city with a population of about 250,000, located near the borders with Argentina and Uruguay.
 
The fire is among the deadliest in a nightclub.  A blaze in China in 2000 killed 309 people and one in Argentina in 2004 killed 194.

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Comments
     
by: Elson Silva from: Campinas, SP, Brazil
February 02, 2013 9:10 AM
‘NULL VOTE IN THE NEXT 236 YEARS’ – ‘each year for each soul wasted’. A challenge suggested by ‘Tubarc’ a PhD scientist thrown in the trash in a similar way like those college students. For justice we need to make Brazil the country of NULL VOTE so the international community understand our suffering, disappointment, and regret about the government we have. The vote is mandatory, so we intend to cancel our votes to show we reject a fake, expensive, inefficient, and corrupt democracy that constantly fail management on public affairs that hurts in the core our human dignity. It is launched this challenge to make SANTA MARIA and KISS NIGHTCLUB the center of change in Brazil revealing our creativity and resolve to make ends meet. If we are so talented on soccer, samba, and carnival, together we can be also the democratic country of NULL VOTE. We need to use this tragedy honoring those erased so vainly as a power for changes and making it happen for the good of us all.

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