Photo credit: Germano Roratto/AFP/Getty Images
A fire at a nightclub in Brazil has killed at least 230 people in an incident that harkens to the Station fire in Rhode Island back in 2003, which also similarly killed 100 people after fire broke out at a popular club. There appears to have only been one exit to the club, causing panic among those trapped amidst the ensuing smoke and fire. Colonel Guido Pedroso de Melo of the Rio Grande do Sul Fire Department stated that the club’s front door was locked. De Melo told CNN: “This overcrowding made it difficult for people to leave, and according to the information we have, the security guards trapped the victims inside.”
The majority of the deaths are believed to be related to smoke inhalation. Santa Maria is a college town in southern Brazil.
The nightclub did not have its fire permit up to date, authorities said. The band that was playing, Gurizada Fandangueira, performed an indoor pyrotechnics show that included flares — a flourish that has been blamed for a number of fatal nightclub fires internationally in recent years. Firefighters said there was only one exit, and that it was closed and locked when the chaos began.