News / Americas

    Brazil Mourns Dead from Massive Fire

    Family members and friends stand 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.
    Family members and friends stand 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.
    VOA News
    Brazilians are mourning the loss of 232 people killed early Sunday in a fire that swept through a nightclub in the far south of the country.  More than 100 people were injured in the disaster.

    Brazilian officials say the club was crowded with with university students in the city of Santa Maria when the blaze broke out.  Survivors say a band member lit a flare or firework and launched it toward the ceiling, setting the building ablaze within minutes.

    Many of the victims were suffocated or trampled as panicked revelers pushed and shoved to escape the building through what survivors say was the only unlocked exit.

    As the country mourns, Brazil canceled an event Monday scheduled for 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 the World Cup next year, and the Olympics in 2016.

    • 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.

    Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cut short a visit to Chile early Sunday to return home following the fire.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is saddened to learn about the tragedy and is especially moved that so many young people and students were killed.  He says he sends his condolences to their families.

    Santa Maria is a major university city with a population of about 250,000.  The city is on the southern tip of Brazil near the borders with Argentina and Uruguay.

    The fire is among the deadliest ever in a nightclub.  A blaze in China in 2000 killed 309 people and one in 2004 in Buenos Aires killed 194.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: José Aleixo from: Brazil
    January 28, 2013 8:31 AM
    From now on, I think brazilian officials should ban the use of special effects related to flares or fireworks inside nightclubs. The risks are very high and consequences are the worst as we can see in Santa Maria.
    Here, my condolences!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    US to Address Illegal Immigration From Central America

    Costa Rica will aid in screening, and Obama administration will expand Central American Minors program to provide safer, more orderly entries of qualified youths

    85 Russian Athletes Barred from Rio Olympics Over Doping

    Among them - 2012 Olympic champion Alexander Dyachenko, one of five canoeists named in recent WADA report, alleging state-sponsored doping cover-up

    Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    Locals say there are many entangled issues at the border that require clearheaded examination, not heated rhetoric

    Colombia Declares End to Zika Epidemic Inside Country

    Colombia has reported nearly 100,000 cases of infection, with 21 cases of Zika-related microcephaly

    Life on the Line in Venezuela as Economic Crisis Worsens

    As country's lines have grown longer and more dangerous, they have become not only the stage for everyday life, but a backdrop to death

    Colombian Drug Lord Gets 35 Years in US Prison

    Daniel Barrera, convicted of trafficking hundreds of tons of cocaine, also fined $10 million