232 die in smoke, stampede in Brazil club fire
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – A blaze raced through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil early on Sunday, killing 232 people as the air filled with deadly smoke and panicked party-goers stampeded toward the exits, police and witnesses said. 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 fire.
Police Major Cleberson Braida Bastianello said by telephone that officials counted 232 bodies that had been brought for identification to a gymnasium in the city of Santa Maria, at the southern tip of Brazil near the borders with Argentina and Uruguay.
Another 117 people were being treated at hospitals, he said, and President Dilma Roussef arrived to visit victims after cutting short participation at a Latin American-European summit in Chile.