Court in Brazil grants bail to defendants in deadly nightclub fire

May 30, 2013

Ben Brumfield, Marilia Brocchetto - 05/30/2013

When Brazilian judges announced their decision to grant bail to the defendants in a nightclub fire that killed 242 people, a woman in the courtroom let out a yell.

Her son died when a botched pyrotechnic display set concertgoers ablaze at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria in January.

For many loved ones attending the hearing, it felt as if those responsible for the deaths were getting off scot-free. Anger and disappointment at the decision spread Wednesday.

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Little done in Brazil to improve safety after fire

May 23, 2013

AP/ABC News, 05/23/2013

Little has been done to improve the safety of public gathering places since a nightclub fire killed 242 people earlier this year in southern Brazil, relatives of the victims said Wednesday.

The relatives met in Brasilia to discuss what safety measures have been adopted in Brazil since the Jan. 27 fire that destroyed the Kiss nightclub in the city of Santa Maria.

“Almost nothing has been done to improve the safety of nightclubs,” said Adherbal Alves Ferreira, whose 22-year-old daughter, Jennefer, perished in the fire. “We need more vigorous laws and demand they be followed and obeyed.”

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Carnival float catches fire, killing 4 in Brazil

February 12, 2013

Stan Lehman – The Miami Herald, 02/12/2013

SAO PAULO — A fire on a Carnival float has killed four people and injured five in the Brazilian port city of Santos.

A fire department official says the float caught fire shortly after the Sangue Jovem samba school ended its parade at dawn on Tuesday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

He says three of the victims were pushing the float. A woman watching the parade was the fourth. The condition of the five injured was not immediately known.

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After Deadly Fire, Fears for Carnival in Brazil

February 8, 2013

Bradley Brooks – Associated Press, 02/08/2013

Just over a week since a nightclub fire killed nearly 240 revelers in southern Brazil, Carnival festivities hit full stride Friday, raising questions about the safety of those who will pack party spaces across the nation.

In the days following the deadly blaze at the Kiss club in the university town of Santa Maria, authorities across Brazil increased fire inspections and closed dozens of clubs in many major cities, mostly citing problems with the establishments’ paperwork.

But most of the clubs have already reopened — leading fire experts to say few changes were put in place to really improve safety for patrons.

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Brazil nightclub fire claims new victim, death toll at 238

February 5, 2013

Eduardo Simões, Caroline Staffer, & Mohammad Zargham – Reuters, 02/05/2013

A 20-year-old man died on Tuesday from injuries sustained during a January 27 fire at a nightclub in southern Brazil, bringing the death toll from the disaster to 238 and adding to concerns it may rise further.

The health department for Rio Grande do Sul state, where the Kiss nightclub in the college town of Santa Maria is located, did not give a precise cause for the death at the Santa Rosa hospital in Porto Alegre, the state’s capital.

Investigators last week said most of the deaths occurred when victims inhaled toxic fumes, such as cyanide, after a flare lit by a band member ignited soundproofing foam in the ceiling, turning the club into a gas chamber in minutes.

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Death toll in South Brazil fire rises to 237

February 4, 2013

Global Post, 02/03/2013

A 22-year-old man injured in the disco fire in Brazil has died, bringing the death toll to 237, officials said Sunday.

The health secretariat of Rio Grande do Sul state said Bruno Portella Fricks died in a Porto Alegre hospital late Saturday from injuries he suffered in last Sunday’s blaze in the college town of Santa Maria.

He was among a total of 114 injured still being treated in various hospitals in Porto Alegre and Santa Maria, the secretariat said in a statement.

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Death toll from Brazil nightclub fire climbs to 236

February 1, 2013

Daniela Ades, Paulo Prada, & Vicki Allen – Reuters, 02/01/2013

A 20-year-old woman late Thursday succumbed to injuries from the nightclub fire in the southern Brazilian college town of Santa Maria, pushing the death toll from the disaster last weekend up to 236.

Civil defense authorities in Rio Grande do Sul, the state where Santa Maria is located, said the victim suffered a heart attack while struggling with injuries that included burns on more than half her body.

An additional 126 people remain hospitalized after the fire, which was caused by an outdoor flare lit by a musician performing at the Kiss nightclub. The flare, investigators say, ignited overhead soundproofing, a synthetic foam that burned and within minutes spread toxic fumes throughout the venue.

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After Fire, Some Brazilians Fault a Nation’s Sense of Fatalism

January 31, 2013

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 01/29/2013

SANTA MARIA, Brazil — First there was the shock over the chaotic nightclub fire here that killed more than 230 people, many of them promising university students. Then there was the grief as families began burying their dead.

Now the soul-searching has begun, as Brazilians here and abroad ask how such a tragedy could have occurred in the first place.

“This is the most senseless thing I can imagine,” said José Joel Canto, 64, a retired railroad worker whose daughter, Natana, a 21-year-old law student, died in the blaze early Sunday morning. “One minute my daughter is dancing, having some fun with friends — the next minute they are dead. I simply cannot comprehend it.”

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Analysis: For Brazil’s president, deadly fire highlights larger cause

January 31, 2013

Brian Winter – Reuters, 01/30/2013

For a gruff, no-nonsense technocrat known for intimidating even her closest aides, the tears rolling down President Dilma Rousseff’s face were especially striking.

After receiving a phone call at 7 a.m. on Sunday notifying her of a nightclub fire that killed 235 people in southern Brazil, Rousseff cut short a visit to Chile and was on the scene by midday.

One photo showed her in a Santa Maria gym that had been turned into a makeshift morgue, cradling the head of a victim’s mother with both hands as the two women cried.

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A night of tragedy

January 30, 2013

The Economist, 01/27/2013

THE death toll from a fire that broke out in the early hours of January 27th in a Brazilian nightclub has already reached 232, with more than 100 injured, many severely. Almost all the victims were young; the nightclub, Kiss, in the university town of Santa Maria in the far southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, was popular with students. Most of the deaths were from smoke inhalation and asphyxiation.

Some survivors were flown to neighbouring cities, including the state capital, Porto Alegre, for treatment. A sports centre in Santa Maria was hastily turned into a makeshift morgue. It is customary in Brazil for burials to be held within 24 hours of death; the high death toll may mean mass funerals too.

Questions are being asked about the quality of the nightclub building and whether emergency procedures were followed. The blaze appears to have been started by a pyrotechnic flare lit on stage by a member of the band; sound-proofing material caught fire, producing toxic gases which quickly overpowered many in the crowd. Police said that at least one exit was blocked. Television stations broadcast images of firefighters, helped by bystanders, breaking through a wall to get in. Some of the victims were found in the bathrooms, possibly because they mistook them for emergency exits, and were then unable to come back out through the panicked crowds.

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