230+ Dead In Nightclub Fire (1 Viewer)


Let It All Bleed Out
Nightclub fire kills 233 in Brazil

Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:10pm EST

(Reuters) - A nightclub fire killed at least 233 people in southern Brazil on Sunday when a band's pyrotechnics show set the building ablaze and fleeing partygoers stampeded toward blocked exits in the ensuing panic.

Most of those who died were suffocated by toxic fumes that rapidly filled the crowded club after sparks from pyrotechnics used by the band for visual effects set fire to soundproofing on the ceiling, local fire officials said.

"Smoke filled the place instantly, the heat became unbearable," survivor Murilo Tiescher, a medical student, told GloboNews TV. "People could not find the only exit. They went to the toilet thinking it was the exit and many died there."

Firemen said one exit was locked and that club bouncers, who at first thought those fleeing were trying to skip out on bar tabs, initially blocked patrons from leaving. The security staff relented only when they saw flames engulfing the ceiling.

The tragedy in the university town of Santa Maria in one of Brazil's most prosperous states comes as the country scrambles to improve safety, security and logistical shortfalls before the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics, both intended to showcase the economic advances and first-world ambitions of Latin America's largest nation.

In Santa Maria, a city of more than 275,000 people, rescue workers and weary officials wept alongside family and friends of the victims at a gymnasium being used as a makeshift morgue.

"It's the saddest, saddest day of my life," said Neusa Soares, the mother of one of those killed, 22-year-old Viviane Tolio Soares. "I never thought I would have to live to see my girl go away."

President Dilma Rousseff cut short an official visit to Chile and flew to Santa Maria, where she wept as she spoke to relatives of the victims, most of whom were university students.

"All I can say at the moment is that my feelings are of deep sorrow," said Rousseff, who began her political career in Rio Grande do Sul, the state where the fire occurred.

It was the deadliest nightclub fire since 309 people died in a discotheque blaze in China in 2000 and Brazil's worst fire at an entertainment venue since a disgruntled employee set fire to a circus in 1961, killing well over 300 people.


Local authorities said 120 men and 113 women died in the fire, and 92 people are still being treated in hospitals.

News of the fire broke on Sunday morning, when local news broadcast images of shocked people outside the nightclub called Boate Kiss. Gradually, grisly details emerged.

"We ran into a barrier of the dead at the exit," Colonel Guido Pedroso de Melo, commander of the fire brigade in Rio Grande do Sul, said of the scene that firefighters found on arrival. "We had to clear a path to get to the rest of those that were inside."

Pedroso de Melo said the popular nightclub was overcrowded with 1,500 people packed inside and they could not exit fast.

"Security guards blocked their exit and did not allow them to leave quickly. That caused panic," he said.

The fire chief said the club was authorized to be open, though its permit was in the process of being renewed. But he pointed to several egregious safety violations - from the flare that went off during the show to the locked door that kept people from getting out.

"The problem was the use of pyrotechnics, which is not permitted," Pedroso de Melo said.

The club's management said in a statement that its staff was trained and prepared to deal with any emergency. It said it would help authorities with their investigation.

One of the club's owners has surrendered to police for questioning, GloboNews TV reported.

When the fire began at about 2:30 a.m., many revelers were unable to find their way out in the chaos.

"It all happened so fast," survivor Taynne Vendrusculo told GloboNews TV. "Both the panic and the fire spread rapidly, in seconds."

Once security guards realized the building was on fire, they tried in vain to control the blaze with a fire extinguisher, according to a televised interview with one of the guards, Rodrigo Moura. He said patrons were trampled as they rushed for the doors, describing it as "a horror film."

Band member Rodrigo Martins said the fire started after the fourth or fifth song and the extinguisher did not work.

"It could have been a short circuit, there were many cables there," Martins told Porto Alegre's Radio Gaucha station. He said there was only one door and it was locked. A band member died in the fire.


TV footage showed people sobbing outside the club before dawn, while shirtless firefighters used sledge hammers and axes to knock down an exterior wall to open up an exit.

Rescue officials moved the bodies to the local gym and separated them by gender. Male victims were easier to identify because most had identification on them, unlike the women, whose purses were left scattered in the devastated nightclub.

Piles of shoes remained in the burnt-out club, along with tufts of hair pulled out by people fleeing desperately. Firemen who removed bodies said victims' cell phones were still ringing.

The disaster recalls other incidents including a 2003 fire at a nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, that killed 100 people, and a Buenos Aires nightclub blaze in 2004 that killed nearly 200. In both incidents, a band or members of the audience ignited fires that set the establishment ablaze.

The Rhode Island fire shocked local and federal officials because of the rarity of such incidents in the United States, where enforcement of safety codes is considered relatively strict. After the Buenos Aires blaze, Argentine officials closed many nightclubs and other venues and ultimately forced the city's mayor from office because of poor oversight of municipal codes.

The fire early on Sunday occurred in one of the wealthiest, most industrious and culturally distinct regions of Brazil. Santa Maria is about 186 miles west of Porto Alegre, the capital of a state settled by Germans and other immigrants from northern Europe.

Local clichés paint the region as stricter and more organized than the rest of Brazil, where most residents are a mix descended from native tribes, Portuguese colonists, African slaves, and later influxes of immigrants from southern Europe.

Rio Grande do Sul state's health secretary, Ciro Simoni, said emergency medical supplies from all over the state were being sent to the scene. States from all over Brazil offered support, and messages of sympathy poured in from foreign leaders.


1. A photo reportedly taken moments before the fire erupted inside the nightclub.






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Three arrests made in Brazil fire

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Police in Santa Maria said Monday they've made three arrests and are seeking a fourth person in connection with a nightclub fire that killed 233 people.

Inspector Ranolfo Vieira Junior said the arrests are for investigative purposes. He said the detentions have five-day limits. A preliminary investigation indicated that a band's pyrotechnics show ignited the blaze. One band member died in the blaze.

The Zero Hora newspaper quoted lawyer Jader Marques as saying his client Elissandro Spohr, a co-owner of the club, was arrested. The paper also said two band members were arrested.

Partygoers fleeing the nightclub were briefly delayed by security guards routinely charged with ensuring that bar tabs are paid, police said.

Firefighters arriving minutes later were hampered by the pile of bodies blocking the lone exit.

"It was terrible inside — it was like one of those films of the Holocaust, bodies piled atop one another," police inspector Sandro Meinerz said. "We had to use trucks to remove them. It took about six hours to take the bodies away."

More than 100 others were injured when the fire broke out at 3 a.m. Sunday at the Kiss nightclub Santa Maria, Brazil, at the southern tip of the country near the borders with Argentina and Uruguay.

On Monday, hundreds of caskets were lined up in a nearby gymnasium. The first funerals were schedule for later in the day.

The club was hosting an event for a local university, and most of the attendees were students of that school, the Federal University of Santa Maria in the southern state Rio Grande do Sul.

COLUMN: Causes of Rio fire hauntingly similar to the R.I. fire

Television images showed smoke pouring out of the nightclub as shirtless, young male partygoers joined firefighters in wielding axes and sledgehammers, pounding at windows and walls to break through to those trapped inside. Teenagers sprinted from the scene desperately trying to find 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.

Most of the dead apparently were asphyxiated, according to Dr. Paulo Afonso Beltrame, a professor at the medical school of the Federal University of Santa Maria who went to the city's Caridade Hospital to help victims.

"Large amounts of toxic smoke quickly filled the room, and I would say that at least 90 percent of the victims died of asphyxiation," Beltrame said.

Federal Health Minister Alexandre Padhilha said most of the injured are suffering from smoke inhalation and only a few were severely burned.

Rodrigo Moura, identified by the newspaper Diario de Santa Maria as a security guard at the club, said it was at its maximum capacity of between 1,000 and 2,000, and customers were pushing and shoving to escape.

However, Dr. Paulo Afonso Beltrame, a professor of the medical school at the Federal University of Santa Maria who raced to the hospital to help victims, said he was told the club was filled far past its capacity.

Guitarist Rodrigo Martins told Radio Gaucha that the band, Gurizada Fandangueira, started playing at 2:15 a.m. "and we had played around five songs when I looked up and noticed the roof was burning"

"It might have happened because of the Sputnik, the machine we use to create a luminous effect with sparks. It's harmless, we never had any trouble with it.

"When the fire started, a guard passed us a fire extinguisher, the singer tried to use it but it wasn't working," Martins said.

He confirmed that accordion player Danilo Jacques, 28, died, while the five other members made it out safely.

Michele Pereira told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that she was near the stage and that the fire broke out after band members lit flares.

"The band that was onstage began to use flares and, suddenly, they stopped the show and pointed them upward. At that point the ceiling caught fire. It was really weak but in a matter of seconds it spread," Pereira said.

Murilo de Teledo Tiescher, a medical student, told G1, "They didn't want to let people out without paying. There was a bit of a fight breaking out at the doors ... There was a lot of fire and a lot of smoke."

It's common for bar patrons in Brazil to have a running bar tab throughout the night, better known as a comanda, which they then pay before leaving. Patrons are only allowed to leave once they provide a stamped comanda to the bouncer.

"It was chaotic and it doesn't seem to have been done in bad faith because several security guards also died,"Meinerz said.

There's also uncertainty if there was an emergency exit, according to local media reports, and one survivor told G1 that the only exit was the front door.

"I don't think there was an emergency exit," Fernanda Bona told G1. Bona, who was at Kiss taking photos for the club when the fire broke out. "We didn't know what was happening inside. It all happened in five minutes, not even. Five minutes after I got out, I saw a lot of panic and lots of people trying to get out. "

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff flew back from a summit in Santiago, Chile, because of the blaze.

"We are together necessarily. We are going to make it through this tragedy," Rousseff said.

Santa Maria Mayor Cezar Schirmer declared a 30-day mourning period, and Tarso Genro, the governor of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, said officials were investigating the cause of the disaster.

Chris Jelenewicz, engineering program manager for the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, says no one realizes how fast a fire can spread, but if protection systems are designed well, deaths and injuries can be minimized or eliminated.

"When people do know there is a fire, they usually try to exit the same way out they came in ... and this is when we see a crowd crush and bodies start to pile up," he said. "I hope Brazil takes a look at this since these type of accidents don't ever happen if the building is properly designed with fire protection issues."

Sunday's fire appeared to be the worst at a nightclub since December 2000, when a welding accident reportedly set off a fire at a club in Luoyang, China, killing 309.

Contributing: The Associated Press



Let It All Bleed Out
Just a very sad situation that surprises me considering NO one learned shit after the Great White Night club incident that this one mirrors!:(
Ya, it seems to be the same scenario over and over...packed club that hasn't renewed it's license to operate (or had it revoked), 2 exits - 1 of which is locked, and pyrotechnics. Most of these clubs don't even have fire systems (ceiling sprinklers/alarms) that work.


Santa Maria, Brazil (CNN) -- One of the owners of the Brazilian nightclub that burned down this week, killing 235, tried to take his own life while in custody, police said Wednesday.

Elissandro Spohr is one of four arrested in the aftermath of Sunday's deadly blaze at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil.

The suicide attempt happened while he was interned and under police guard at a hospital, where he is being treated for smoke inhalation, Santa Maria Police Chief Lylian Carus said.

While taking a shower, Spohr removed the shower hose and tied it to a window, but police discovered him before he placed the other end around his neck, Carus said.

"Everything indicates he was going to commit suicide by hanging," he said. "He's emotionally destroyed."

The residents of Santa Maria, in southern Brazil, have also suffered an emotional toll from the tragedy.

Opinon: We haven't learned from past mistakes

It seems to be all that people here talk about, and protestors have taken to the streets demanding justice.

In addition to Spohr, police arrested another owner of the club, Mauro Hoffman. Also in custody are the vocalist for the band performing that night, Marcelo de Jesus dos Santos, and show producer Luciano Bonilha.

During their performance, the band Gurizada Fandangueira used pyrotechnics that they knew were for outdoor use only, police have said. They opted to buy this particular firework because it was cheaper than the indoor-use kind, police said.

Kiss was filled well beyond its legal capacity with the crowd of 2,000 people, who packed the club to hear the band play.

When the pyrotechnics were set off, the ceiling caught fire, state officials said, and the flames spread quickly.

The crowd panicked, breaking into a stampede, and it hit a bottleneck -- the only exit was the front door, down a dark, narrow hallway.

More than 100 of the victims were students at the local Federal University of Santa Maria, the school said.

New patients

In the days after the fire, about 20 more people who were at the club sought health services because of symptoms such as tiredness and breathlessness, Brazil's state-run Agencia Brasil news agency reported.

These new patients were hospitalized for observation and may require breathing aids.

Some 82 people remained in intensive care units, with 75 in critical condition, health officials said.

Club was renewing its license

Investigators said they found evidence of faulty and fake fire extinguishers at the club, which had expired fire and municipal licenses. The club's original license permitted just 691 people inside.

However, fire officials said that because the club was in the process of renewing its license, it was not required to be shut down.

Last September, the fire department notified the owners of the club about their expired permit, and in November, the club requested inspection for a renewal, fire official Sergio Roberto de Abreu said, according to Agencia Brasil.

The renewal request was pending at the time of the fire.

Deadly blazes: Nightclub tragedies in recent history


Eerie sounds of cell phones amid disaster adds to first-responder toll

(CNN) -- The dead can't speak. Their cell phones do.
And, for police, firefighters and paramedics, the incessant chirping, bleating and incongruously cheerful boom box beats of victims' cell phones comprise a soundtrack of disaster.
It happened at the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, a commuter train crash in Los Angeles the next year, the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, last July and, again, at the night club fire in Brazil that killed 231 people on Sunday.
The incessantly ringing phones, and the realization that someone is desperately trying to reach someone else who is now dead, short-circuits the psychological defenses first responders need to do their jobs, said Jim Crabtree, a registered nurse who helps train them for the Los Angeles County Emergency Management Services Agency.
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"It starts ringing and it becomes an instant reminder that this person is human, that they have friends and family who care," he said.
It also leaves responders with an uneasy feeling they're keeping a secret from the victim's loved ones, Crabtree said.
Crabtree first ran across the issue following the Virginia Tech shooting, in which a lone gunman, a student, killed 32 people.
Some first responders couldn't get the sound of ringing cell phones out of their ears, psychologists Christopher Flynn of Virginia Tech and Dennis Heitzmann of Penn State wrote in a follow up journal article.
"As police and rescue workers removed the bodies of the deceased and evacuated the survivors, they reported haunting memories of cell phones ringing in body bags as parents and friends desperately called their loved ones."
Los Angeles first responders dealt with the same issue when a commuter train collided with a freight train in 2008.
Be ready for emergency at a crowded public gathering
Hundreds of firefighters and other first responders flooded the scene, clawing through the mangled wreckage to get at the bodies of victims. All the while, Crabtree said, dozens of cell phones kept ringing.
Aurora police Officer Justin Grizzle spoke this month during a court hearing of entering a theater where 12 people died in that shooting rampage.
The things he noticed: blood running down the steps and the sound of cell phones ringing.
It was the same Sunday night, when firefighters rushed through a hole punched into the wall of the Kiss nightclub by people who had escaped the building after it caught on fire.
They found dozens of bodies of club-goers who died of smoke inhalation. And they once again heard the sounds of ringing phones.
Milton Neves, a reporter from Radio Bandeirantes, said some 800 to 900 mobile phones were going off at the same time. One alone had 104 missed calls.
Hundreds of family and friends were desperately trying to reach loved ones who were at the nightclub in the Brazilian city of Santa Maria when a fire swept through early Sunday, killing at least 230 people and injuring hundreds more.
Brazil nightclub fire: 'Like a war zone' with bodies piled
"It was a really complicated scene. A lot of smoke, a lot of shoes that were left, cell phones, because everybody tried to get out of there running," Glauber Fernandes, a reporter for CNN affiliate Band News said.
"While we were there, we saw the cell phones were ringing. It was parents, friends, trying to know about what was happening and nobody was answering."
Few, if any, agencies have policies on what to do about the multitude of ringing phones police and firefighters frequently encounter at disaster scenes, Crabtree said.
He said he tells trainees turning off the phones can help save their own sanity, but says some agencies could view the act as tampering with evidence.
He favors policies that would allow responders to turn the phones off, but says most commanders haven't yet come to the same conclusion.
"It's a 21st century problem," he said.
But it's an issue emergency agencies will have to deal with sooner or later, if the experience of first responders Crabtree has spoken to is any indication.
"They don't talk about it openly, but when you get them alone ... " Crabtree said, like the responders, leaving the rest unspoken.

Fuck that shit man. I will walk the fuck out of a club with pyros. Those small concerts aren't really my cup of tea anyway because they're too crowded, but the only one I've been to in ages was alrosa villa, and i sat next to the exit the whole fucking night. I just cant,do those small venues.

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