245 killed in Brazil nightclub inferno
on 27/01/2013 14:48:14
Police Major Cleberson Braida said 245 bodies were brought for identification to a gymnasium in the city of Santa Maria. That toll would make it one of the deadliest nightclub fires for more than a decade.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, officials said.
Civil Police and regional government spokesman Marcelo Arigoni told Radio Gaucha earlier that the total number of victims is still unclear and there may be hundreds injured.
The newspaper Diario de Santa Maria reported that the fire started at around 2am at the Kiss nightclub in the city at the southern tip of Brazil, near the borders with Argentina and Uruguay.
Rodrigo Moura, a security guard at the club, said it was at its maximum capacity of between 1,000 and 2,000, and partygoers were pushing and shoving to escape.
Ezekiel Corte Real, 23, said that he helped people to escape. "I just got out because I'm very strong," he said.
"Sad Sunday", tweeted Tarso Genro, the governor of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. He said all possible action was being taken and that he would be in the city later in the day.
Santa Maria is a major university city with a population of around a quarter of a million.