The government of Brazil has declared three days of national mourning for the 233 people who died in a nightclub fire in Santa Maria on Sunday.
The fire at the Kiss nightclub in the southern University town of Santa Maria is thought to have started when a members of the band who were playing that night lit a flare on stage as part of a pyrotechnic performance. According to firemen one of the exits to the building was locked, and bouncers had initially blocked clubbers trying to flee through the main entrance, as they thought the fleeing party-goers were trying to skip out on bar bills. Most of the 233 people who died are reported to have suffocated due to smoke inhalation.
An addition to three days of mourning across the nation, a full 30 days of mourning have been declared in Santa Maria. In the capital Brasilia a ceremony to mark 500 days to go before the start of the 2014 world cup, due to take place on Monday, has been postponed. Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff cut short a trip to Chile, and has already visited survivors at the Charidade hospital; “It is a tragedy for all of us,” she said.
Chaotic Scene Following the Brazil Nightclub Fire