More than 230 die in smoke, stampede from nightclub fire

· January 28, 2013

BRASILIA, Brazil — Flames raced through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil early Sunday, killing more than 230 people as panicked partygoers gasped for breath in the smoke-filled air while stampeding toward a single exit partially blocked by those already dead. It appeared to be the world’s deadliest nightclub fire in more than a decade.

Witnesses said a flare or firework lit by band members may have started the blaze.

Television images showed smoke pouring out of the Kiss nightclub as shirtless young men who had attended a university party joined firefighters using axes and sledgehammers to pound at windows and walls to free those trapped inside.

Guido Pedroso Melo, commander of the city’s fire department, told the O Globo newspaper that firefighters had a hard time getting inside the club because “there was a barrier of bodies blocking the entrance.”

Teenagers sprinted from the scene desperately seeking help. Others carried injured and burned friends away in their arms.

“There was so much smoke and fire, it was complete panic, and it took a long time for people to get out, there were so many dead,”

survivor Luana Santos Silva told the Globo TV network.

The fire spread so fast inside the packed club that firefighters and ambulances could do little to stop it, Silva said.

Another survivor, Michele Pereira, told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that she was near the stage when members of the band lit flares that started the conflagration.

“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.”

  • BzB

    word is the bouncers were blocking the only exit..

    i didn’t know the way clubs in brazil work is…apparently you get a tab or card when you first enter the club. your cover charge and any drinks you buy during the night is added to your tab. then you pay when you leave at the end of the night. this is supposedly the reason the bouncers were blocking the exit at first.

    one exit though? them bouncers woulda been stomped out the way over here. all them people killed. insane

  • WHATDAHELL

    dunno how the bouncers stopped that crowd unless they locked the door.

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