Flames raced through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil early on Jan 27, 2013, killing more than 230 people as panicked partygoers gasped for breath in the smoke-filled air, 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.
The toxic smoke made people lose their sense of direction so they were unable to find their way to the exit. At least 50 bodies were found inside a bathroom. Apparently they confused the bathroom door with the exit door.
Many apparently died from smoke inhalation; others were trampled in the rush for the exits.
There were many wires on the ceiling, and there could have been a short circuit. The vast majority of the victims, most of them university students, died from asphyxiation, officials said. Others were crushed in the stampede.
In a horrific tragedy that would raise serious questions about public safety in Brazil, some 232 people — mostly teenagers — were killed in an inferno that swept through a nightclub, Kiss, in Santa Maria, a small city in Rio Grande do Sul, the prosperous southern state which shares its border with Argentina and Uruguay. The dead included 120 men and 110 women. More than 131 people were injured in the incident. The inferno started during the fireworks show when a band was playing in the club on Saturday night. As fireworks hit the ceiling of the club, packed with 2,000 teenagers enjoying a Saturday night party, the soundproofing material made of foam caught fire and within minutes the club was engulfed in huge flames and thick smoke, with most young boys and girls being asphyxiated or trampled to death. As the main door of the club was locked, the place turned into a death trap for the youngsters.