Horrific Nightclub Fire In Brazil Kills 233 People

“It was like one of those films of the Holocaust, bodies piled atop one another,” a police inspector told the press.

1. A nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, hosted an event for students at the nearby Federal University of Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul on Saturday night.

Ricardo Moraes / Reuters
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2. Between 1,000 and 2,000 people packed the club, a guard told Diario de Santa Maria. The venue was at maximum capacity.

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3. A fire broke out around 3 a.m., not long after the band Gurizada Fandangueira stated playing. The group is known for their pyrotechnic performances.


Pictured is accordion player Danilo Jacques, 28, who died in the blaze. All the other band members survived.

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4. More than 233 people were killed and 100 injured. Most died from smoke inhalation.

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5. Survivors reported that many struggled to find the club’s unmarked exits in the dark. Many mistook the bathrooms for exits and were trapped inside.

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6. Michele Cardoso, 20, used her phone to update her Facebook status at 3:50 a.m. with the message: “Fire at KISS help.” Cardosa, her sister Clarissa, and her boyfriend Joao Paulo perished in the fire.

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8. Some witnesses reported that as people fled the club, security guards tried to make sure they paid their bar tabs.

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9. “It was like one of those films of the Holocaust, bodies piled atop one another,” police inspector Sandro Meinerz told the press. “We had to use trucks to remove them. It took about six hours to take the bodies away.”

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Ronald Mendes / AP
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Ricardo Moraes / Reuters
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12. The bodies of the victims were taken to a municipal gymnasium for identificiation.

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13. Many of the bodies have yet to be identified.

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Empty coffins and coffins with the corpses of the victims of the Boate Kiss nightclub fire are laid out as the victims are are identified by relatives at the municipal gymnasium on Jan. 27, 2012, in Santa Maria.

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15. Inside the gym, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff met with family members and friends waiting for news of their loved ones.

Handout / Reuters

Rousseff had been attending a regional summit in Chile, but she returned to Brazil early to deal with the aftermath of the tragedy. “The Brazilian people are the ones who need me today,” she told reporters as she left the summit.

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Neco Varella/EFE via Zuma Press / MCT
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17. Mass wakes and burials began on Sunday.

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Brazil / Reuters

A relative of victims of the fire at Boate Kiss nightclub attends a collective wake in the southern city of Santa Maria.

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Brazil / Reuters

Relatives of Carlos Alexandre Machado, one of the victims of a fire at Boate Kiss nightclub, mourn during his funeral in the southern city of Santa Maria.

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Brazil / Reuters

Cladimir Callegari, father of Mariana Callegari, one of the victims of a fire at Boate Kiss nightclub, cries during her funeral in the southern city of Santa Maria.

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21. Police have reportedly arrested three people so far in connection with the fire — the club’s co-owner and two members of the band. They are now seeking a fourth suspect.

Brazil / Reuters
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