Brazil fire toll rises to 238

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 06, 2013 06:20 hrs

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 6 (IANS/EFE) The number of fatalities from the discotheque fire in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria rose to 238 with the death in hospital of a 20-year-old man, authorities said.

The latest fatality, who was admitted to Santa Casa de la Misericordia Hospital in Porto Alegre, was identified with the initials P.A., since his family asked that his name not be revealed.

At the moment, 81 patients remain in hospital, of whom 23 are in critical condition, according to the latest bulletin.

The blaze occurred during a university party at the Kiss discotheque on the night of Jan 27, apparently due to the use of fireworks during a concert.

The fire spread rapidly through the inflammable foam used as soundproofing in the ceiling, which also generated a toxic gas that caused most of the deaths, police said.

The Safety Secretariat in the state of Rio Grande do Sul estimates that on the night of the fire there were between 750 and 800 people in the discotheque, well above the official capacity of 691.

Authorities are also investigating the lack of fire extinguishers and emergency exits.

The two owners of the discotheque and two members of the Gurizada Fandangueira band, which was playing at the moment of the blaze, are being held in custody.



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