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Vancouver Off-Topic / Current EventsThe off-topic forum for Vancouver, funnies, non-auto centered discussions, WORK SAFE. While the rules are more relaxed here, there are still rules. Please refer to sticky thread in this forum.
BRASILIA, BRAZIL—Flames raced through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil early Sunday, killing more than 230 people as panicked partygoers gasped for breath in the smoke-filled air while 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.
Witnesses said a flare or firework lit by band members may have started the blaze.
Television images showed smoke pouring out of the Kiss nightclub as shirtless young men who had attended a university party joined firefighters using axes and sledgehammers to pound at windows and walls to free those trapped inside.
Guido Pedroso Melo, commander of the city's fire department, told the O Globo newspaper that firefighters had a hard time getting inside the club because “there was a barrier of bodies blocking the entrance.”
Teenagers sprinted from the scene desperately seeking help. Others carried injured and burned friends away in their arms.
“There was so much smoke and fire, it was complete panic, and it took a long time for people to get out, there were so many dead,” survivor Luana Santos Silva told the Globo TV network.
The fire spread so fast inside the packed club that firefighters and ambulances could do little to stop it, Silva said.
Another survivor, Michele Pereira, told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that she was near the stage when members of the band lit flares that started the conflagration.
“The band that was onstage began to use flares and, suddenly, they stopped the show and pointed them upward,” she said. “At that point, the ceiling caught fire. It was really weak, but in a matter of seconds it spread.”
Police Maj. Cleberson Braida Bastianello said by telephone that officials counted 233 bodies that had been brought for identification to a gymnasium in Santa Maria, a major university city with about 250,000 residents at the southern tip of Brazil, near the borders with Argentina and Uruguay.
An earlier count put the number of dead at 245.
Federal Health Minister Alexandre Padhilha told a news conference that most of the 117 people treated in hospitals had suffered intoxication from gases they breathed during the fire. Only a few suffered serious burns, he said.
Brazil President Dilma Roussef arrived to visit the injured after cutting short her trip to a Latin American-European summit in Chile.
“It is a tragedy for all of us,” Roussef said.
Most of the dead apparently suffocated, according to Dr. Paulo Afonso Beltrame, a professor at the medical school of the Federal University of Santa Maria who went to the city's Caridade Hospital to help victims.
Beltrame said he was told the club had been filled far beyond its capacity during a party for students at the university's agronomy department.
Survivors, police and firefighters gave the same account of a band member setting the ceiling's soundproofing ablaze, he said.
“Large amounts of toxic smoke quickly filled the room, and I would say that at least 90 per cent of the victims died of asphyxiation,” Beltrame told The Associated Press by telephone.
“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.”
In the hospital, the doctor “saw desperate friends and relatives walking and running down the corridors looking for information,” he said, calling it “one of the saddest scenes I have ever witnessed.”
Rodrigo Moura, identified by the newspaper Diario de Santa Maria as a security guard at the club, said it was at its maximum capacity of between 1,000 and 2,000, and partygoers were pushing and shoving to escape.
I imagine that nobody wanted to look like a little bitch running out of the bar as soon as the fire started at a rock concert, but you can see the uncertainty in some of their faces and nervous smiles. It spreads so fast and at first people are casually taking their time to exit the bar. Its crazy how they bottleneck at the doorway, literally a tin of sardines. The guys are struggling to even pull them through the door way. Even the guitarist got roasted in that one. So disturbing.
Terrible tragedy; one of the reasons I always check to see where the emergency exits are whenever I'm in any venue, especially in Brazil. RIP to the dead, and strength to the survivors, because seeing people getting burned alive, hearing the screams of despair, *shudder*...
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was just going to bring this up, so i recently got hired at a job. it was part of training saying how important know where all the exits are and fire extinguishers etc. when you enter a building, i know sometimes itll just slip your mind. but look.