By Sandra Birungi
233 people ave been reported dead in a nightclub in Brazil after a fire caught the club.
The fire at Kiss nightclub in southern Brazil on Sunday has seen friends call friends, relatives inquire if their relatives are still alive and family on edge over the death of so many people.
According to CNN, the scene of the tragedy was ‘complicated’. “It was a really complicated scene. A lot of smoke, a lot of shoes that was left, cell phones, because everybody tried to get out of there running. While we were there, we saw the cell phones were ringing. It was parents, friends, trying to know about what was happening and nobody was answering,” Glauber Fernandes, a reporter from CNN affiliate Band News explained.
Only 185 have been identified so far. Cause of death for many was smoke inhalation while others were trampled in the rush for the exits, according to a security guard. Despite the alarming number of the dead, more than 90 people were hospitalized. Of these, 14 patients were hospitalized with severe burns.
According to a state fire official, Guido de Melo, about 2,000 people were inside the club when the fire broke out and security guards stopped people from exiting the club. “People who were inside the facility informed us … that security guards blocked the exit to prevent people there from leaving, and that’s when the crowd starting panicking, and the tragedy grew worse,” he said.
A witness, Jairo Vieira, said the fire started “from out of nowhere” on a stage at the club and spread quickly to the ceiling. “People started running,” a survivor, Luana Santos Silva said. “I fell on the floor.” At the time of the fire, there was a pyrotechnics show going on. A home to many youth and a university, Santa Maria, Kiss nightclub in particular was popular. Of the dead, at least 80 of them were students at the Federal University of Santa Maria just as universities were set to resume classes today, Monday.
Investigations are still on going on what really caused the fire. Police are quizzing the nightclub owners to figure out what caused the fire and why so many people died. Local fire official, Moises da Silva Fuchs said the club’s license had expired in August and had not been renewed yet.
As Brazil mourns the death of so many, our prayers go out to the bereaved families.