Safety consultants say the lack of sprinklers, adequate illumination, smoke detectors, and fire exits is tragically common in Brazil.
SAO PAULO, Brazil
Authorities buried the first victims of the Santa Maria nightclub fire this morning, and while Brazil is still in shock over its worst disaster in more than half a century, some are shifting their focus toward the investigation and future prevention.
There is widespread hope that Brazil can overcome its long-standing culture of impunity and bring those responsible to justice.
Some 233 people died after smoke engulfed the Kiss disco in southern Brazil during the early hours of Sunday morning. More than 100 people are still hospitalized, 80 of them in serious condition, Brazil’s Health Minister Alexandre Padilha said.
Police, based on numerous eyewitness accounts, believe the fire was started on accident by the live band on stage. Over-size sparklers ignited the highly flammable acoustic foam that lined the ceiling and within minutes the club was engulfed in smoke. The vast majority of those who didn’t make it out in time died from asphyxiation.
Those errors, allied to inadequate emergency lighting and insufficient emergency exits inside the club, are similar to those that caused other deadly nightclub fires, including the famous 2003 Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island, which killed 100 people.