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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Latin America Welcomes Obama's Move to Restore US-Cuba Ties

Regional leaders say initiative would further ease ideological battle that has divided Americas for decades
More

Video  US to Continue Push for Democracy, Rights in Cuba

A White House statement said although past US policy toward Cuba is 'rooted in the best of intentions, it has had little effect'
More

US-Cuba Move Ends Decades of Island's Isolation

Cuban revolution, outreach to Soviets set off years of antipathy between Washington, Havana
More

Colombia's FARC Rebels Declare Conditional Unlimited Ceasefire

Group says it is also demanding high-profile certification of its ceasefire through the UN, Red Cross or regional intergovernmental organization
More

American Lawmakers, Others Split on US-Cuba Moves

Some praise approach; Florida Senator Rubio denounces ‘victory for oppressive Cuban government’
More

An Elated Alan Gross: 'It's Good to be Home'

'This is a game changer,' newly-freed political prisoner tells audience, referring to his release and the US policy shift toward Cuba
More