US medication for fire victims lands in south Brazil

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Some 140 medical kits flown in from the United States arrived in Brazil Saturday to treat survivors of the deadly disco fire who were exposed to dangerous fumes, authorities said.

The medication, called Cyanokit, was requested by the Brazilian health ministry to treat victims of last Sunday's fire who inhaled cyanide after the fire ignited acoustic foam insulation inside the "Kiss" nightclub.

The blaze left 236 people dead in the college town of Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul state. The tragedy was a huge embarrassment for Brazil as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

About 20 people have been hospitalized with symptoms of what is called chemical pneumonitis. The latter term refers to inflammation of lung tissue.

Those treated for respiratory problems were in addition to 123 people hospitalised for other injuries sustained during the fire, which was ignited by a cheap flare lit by musicians as part of an illegal pyrotechnics display.

Meanwhile Rio Grande do Sul authorities on Friday extended for 30 days the detention of four people blamed for the tragedy.

Since Monday they have been holding the two owners of the nightclub and two musicians of the group who allegedly took part in the ill-fated pyrotechnic show.

The authorities have also cited safety violations at the club, including a lack of emergency lights, fire extinguishers that did not work and an overcrowded dance floor.

In the wake of the fire, several Brazilian cities announced more rigorous checks of clubs, bars and concert halls.

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