Brazil nightclub fire kills more than 230 people in horrible overnight tragedy (VIDEO)
Tragic news out of Brazil this morning, as we're learning that at least 230 people (though the number is still not confirmed) lost their lives in the early hours of Sunday as a fire tore through a popular nightclub in the town of Santa Maria in southern Brazil.
The victims were killed in a panicked stampede as the more than 2,000 patrons that were attending a concert in the popular Kiss nightclub, reportedly pushed to escape through the few working exits in the massive establishment (which sees 2,000 to 3,000 revelers every weekend!). "People started running, I fell on the floor," survivor Luana Santos Silva told CNN affiliate Globo. According to CNN, many also perished from smoke inhalation.
Many sources are saying the fire started when a band performing in the crowded club lit fireworks at around 2 a.m. local time, although local police still maintain that the cause is still under investigation and don't want to point any fingers just yet, reports CNN. When the fireworks went off, the acoustic insulation, or what makes the club soundproof, caught on fire. The blaze quickly spread and trapped so many of the young, college-age club goers in its grasp. (This weekend, many young people are celebrating the end of their break, the last weekend before school starts; Santa Maria is apparently a college town, home to a number of public and private universities and colleges.)
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According to CNN, police reported that 90 percent of the victims were found in the bathrooms. Hours after the fire broke out, families were waiting on news outside the club and were also directed to a nearby sporting complex/gymnasium where all the bodies were being taken.
Brazilian president Dilma Roussef reportedly got teary eyed as she spoke of the unthinkable tragedy in Chile, where she is traveling on business. She arrived in Santa Maria earlier this morning.
What a horrible, horrible tragedy! I honestly have no words for the incredible loss of life, and can't even begin to imagine what all the moms of these probably young victims must be feeling right now. The death toll is expected to go up as more bodies are retrieved from the inferno that became the club. I'm also left speechless because, as many outlets are reporting, pyrotechnic fire has also been linked to a number of other nightclub fires, including 2003's Rhode Island tragedy that killed more than 90, the 2004 club fire in Buenos Aires that killed 194, and the 2009 explosion in Russia that left more than 100 dead.
As Brazil gears up for the World Cup next year, I hope they implement more safety and security measures for those events, which will be massive. It pains me to think that this tragedy could have been avoided if exits were working and standards were up to code.
In any case, we mourn with all the families of the victims today. Our prayers and thoughts are with them as Brazilian authorities sort through the nightmarish scene and try to understand how this could have happened.
Image via Daily Mail Video