More than 230 die in Brazil nightclub fire - New York News

More than 230 die in Brazil nightclub fire

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More than 200 died in the devastating nightclub fire in southern Brazil. Officials say the fire broke out at the Kiss club in the city of Santa Maria while a band was performing. At least 200 people were also injured. (AP Photo/Deivid Dutra/Agencia Freela More than 200 died in the devastating nightclub fire in southern Brazil. Officials say the fire broke out at the Kiss club in the city of Santa Maria while a band was performing. At least 200 people were also injured. (AP Photo/Deivid Dutra/Agencia Freela
A crowd stands outside the Kiss nightclub during a fire inside the club in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Sunday. A blaze raced through the crowded nightclub in southern Brazil early Sunday, killing 245 people as panicked party-goers s A crowd stands outside the Kiss nightclub during a fire inside the club in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Sunday. A blaze raced through the crowded nightclub in southern Brazil early Sunday, killing 245 people as panicked party-goers s

A fire swept through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil early Sunday morning, killing at least 245 people and leaving at least 200 injured.

Police Maj. Cleberson Braida told local news media that the 245 bodies were brought for identification to a gymnasium in the city of Santa Maria.

That toll apparently would make it the deadliest nightclub fire in more than a decade.

Police estimated 900 people were in the club when the fire broke out.

News of this tragic fire has been met with shock from around the world and particularly in Midtown on the stretch known as Little Brazil, where people have been gathering at local restaurants and bars to get updates on the fire's aftermath, and mourn together. 

Inside Emporium Brasil Restaurant on West 46th Street, the TV has been tuned to a Brazilian station all day as these Brazilian New Yorkers seek any new details they can get about the deadly fire in a Santa Maria nightclub that killed at least 232 people and injured scores of others. 

"I was devastated when I heard it, too many people and young people – it's so bad."  

Bartender Wagner Machado says he's been in touch with friends and family in Brazil all day trying to get updates on the victims, the majority of whom were college students there to see a concert. 

"I have friends of friends who died, friends of my cousin," said Machado. 

As the list of dead and injured continues to grow, questions are emerging about whether the owners of the Kiss nightclub were in part to blame. Sources say once the fire broke out, guards locked down all the exits but one.

At Ipanema Restaurant, waiter George Bravo says someone needs to be held accountable. 

"If that's true somebody needs to pay for that crime," said Bravo.

Santa Maria is a university city with a population of around a quarter of a million.

The fire is being called the deadliest nightclub fire in the world in the last decade. The Mayor of Santa Maria has delared a 30-day mourning period.

The tragedy in Brazil is one of many fatal nightclub fires.

  • A fire killed 492 people at Boston's Cocoanut Grove club in 1942, the deadliest nightclub blaze in U.S. history. The fire led to the enactment of requirements for sprinkler systems and accessible exits with emergency lights not linked to the regular lighting system.
  • A welding accident reportedly set off a Dec. 25, 2000, fire at a club in Luoyang, China, killing 309.
  • At least 194 people died at an overcrowded working-class nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2004.
  • A blaze at the Lame Horse nightclub in Perm, Russia, broke out on Dec. 5, 2009, when an indoor fireworks display ignited a plastic ceiling decorated with branches, killing 152
  • A nightclub fire in the U.S. state of Rhode Island in 2003 killed 100 people after pyrotechnics used as a stage prop by the 1980s rock band Great White set ablaze cheap soundproofing foam on the walls and ceiling.
  • In New York City, the deadliest nightclub fire as the result of an arson. On March 25, 1990, a fire broke out at Happy Land, an unlicensed social club at 1959 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx. 87 people died in that blaze which was an arson committed by a man whose former girlfriend had worked at the club.
  • A nightclub fire in Rhode Island in 2003 killed 100 people after pyrotechnics used as a stage prop by the 1980s rock band Great White set ablaze cheap soundproofing foam on the walls and ceiling.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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