Tags: dead | nightclub | arrest | brazil

230 Dead in Nightclub: 3 People Arrested in Brazilian Fire

Monday, 28 Jan 2013 12:05 PM

By Alexandra Ward

Brazilian authorities arrested three people on Monday in connection with the Boate Kiss nightclub fire that killed more than 230 people Sunday, ABC News reported.

A club owner, the club's security chief, and a member of the band that was performing at the time the fire started were arrested and questioned, according to ABC News. Their names have not been released.

A fourth person who police said is also an owner of the club in in Santa, Maria, is being sought for questioning as well, according to the BBC.

The country's deadliest fire in five decades reportedly started after a member of Gurizada Fandangueira, a rock band performing at the venue, lit a flare on stage that ignited the highly-flammable ceiling insulation. Police said overcrowding and blocked exits contributed to the death toll.

Survivors and police inspector Marcelo Arigony told The Associated Press that security guards briefly tried to block people from leaving the club, not realizing the severity of the fire at first.

One of the co-owners of the club is reported to have confirmed that Boate Kiss was in the process of renewing its license to operate, and that its fire safety certificate expired last year, according to the BBC.

Witnesses described the scene as panicked when the fire started and a subsequent stampede as people tried to escape.

"It was sheer horror," survivor Mattheus Bortolotto told a local television station. "The emergency exits did not work, and then I lost my friend in the confusion. Then a girl died in my arms. I felt her heart stop beating."

More than 50 of the victims were buried Monday. Brazil has declared three days of national mourning, according to the BBC.

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