Brazil mourns young people who perished in nightclub fire

Three days of mourning announced after fire claims 236 young lives

Brazil has gone into mourning following a nightclub fire in which 236 people were killed and 100 were injured.

The fire, which broke out during the Federal University of Santa Maria’s freshers’ ball at Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, was caused by a flare being thrown from the stage igniting the ceiling foam insulation. Most of the victims were aged between 16 and 20.

The tragedy is further compounded by reports of inadequate fire safety provision, which led to many dying from toxic smoke inhalation. Guitarist Rodrigo Martins told local radio: ‘When the fire started, a guard passed us a fire extinguisher. The singer tried to use it but it wasn’t working.’

Officials are investigating claims that people were unable to escape the building, as only one fire exit was available.

According to police inspector Marcelo Arigony, nightclub security initially tried to prevent people from escaping the building. One of the nightclub owners has confirmed that they were in the process of renewing their licence and their fire safety certificate had expired last year.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, who has been visiting survivors in hospital, announced three days of National Mourning.

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