The Straits Times
Published on Feb 05, 2013

Disco fire clouds build-up to Rio Carnival


RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - A disco fire that claimed 237 lives has cast a grim shadow over Carnival, Brazil's most popular festival, with dozens of night spots closed for not meeting safety standards.

Dozens of bars, discotheques, concert halls and other night spots have shut down in the main Brazilian cities following more rigorous safety checks in the wake of last week's tragedy in the southern city of Santa Maria.

Police have linked the fire in the club to a pyrotechnic show launched by musicians using flares designed for use outdoors. The two owners of the "Kiss" disco and two musicians have been detained. In Santa Maria and other towns in Rio Grande do Sul state, Carnival celebrations have been canceled as a sign of mourning.

In Rio, where nearly a million visitors are expected for the five-day Carnival extravaganza, which kicks off Friday, 127 of 209 establishments inspected by firefighters last week have been closed. "They were shut down because of security lapses," fire department chief Sergio Simoes said.