In the southern Brazil city of Santa Maria, people are in complete shock as they try to come to grips with the death of more than 245 people in a Sunday morning nightclub blaze. The blaze started after the interior of the nightclub was set on fire following the pyrotechnics display put on by the band performing on site.
By Sunday mid morning, firefighters along with rescue personnel and members of the military had taken out over 200 bodies from the Boate Kiss nightclub.
Officials said that most of the victims had died from either smoke inhalation, asphyxiation or from being trampled upon in doorways and exits. Eyewitnesses to the tragedy said well over 500 people were inside the nightclub when the fire occurred. One police official said the fire started when a member of the band or the band’s production crew lit a flare.
When the flare was lit, it caught the ceiling on fire and the blaze spread at an amazingly quick rate through the structure.
Santa Maria is about 185 miles from Porto Alegre, which is the capital of Rio Grande do Sul. The state is located in the southern part of Brazil and Santa Maria is bordered by Argentina as well as Uruguay. The city has a population of approximately 250,000 and a number of universities. Officials were using a municipal sports complex as a temporary morgue so family and friends of the deceased could identify their loved ones easier.