At least 233 people were killed on Jan. 27 in a fire at Kiss, a nightclub in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The blaze was allegedly ignited by the pyrotechnics display of Gurizada Fandangueira, a band performing at the club that evening. Could such a tragedy be possible in the United States, a country that loves fireworks so much that we annually celebrate our nation's birth with them? It's pretty unlikely, and this is why.
1. How often do pyro accidents happen in America?
The most infamous pyrotechnics disaster of all time happened in 2003 at a Great White concert at The Station in Rhode Island, where 100 people died and hundreds more were injured in what stands as the fourth-deadliest nightclub fire in history. The three nightclub fires with greater body counts — Boston's Cocoanut Grove in 1942, the Rhythm Club in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1940, and Happy Land in The Bronx in 1990 — were not caused by pyrotechnics. After the disaster at The Station, law makers cracked down on pyrotechnical safety. In the years since, there have been no fatalities and just two minor injuries (to musicians, not audience members) directly connected to pyrotechnics.