Fire at packed nightclub kills 233 in Brazil: police

Many readers in Thailand will immediately think of our Santika pub fire several years ago which had many similarities to Sunday's fire in a Brazil nightclub.

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Relatives of victims killed in a fire at the Kiss nightclub weep in Santa Maria, Brazil, on Jan. 27. AFP

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Fire at packed nightclub kills 233 in Brazil: police

A band’s pyrotechnic display at a nightclub in southern Brazil has turned deadly, killing at least 233 and injuring dozens when a flare set the building ablaze, according to police and televised reports.

Most of the victims at the club in Santa Maria, a city that’s home to a number of universities, were students who died from smoke inhalation, said Andre Diefenbach, an official with the municipality’s police department, in a telephone interview. Some may have perished as they attempted to escape through the club’s exit doors, while others died after running into the bathroom, thinking it was an exit, he said.

Firefighters attempt to put out the fire at Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria. Photo: AFP

Some of the club’s security guards may have initially stopped people from leaving the premises before paying, he said.

‘‘People were screaming and trying to run to the exit,’’ Luciene Louzeiro, a survivor of the incident who was near the stage when the fire started, said in a televised interview. ‘‘It was horrible. I’ve never seen anything like it.’’

The death toll, initially estimated at 245, was later lowered to 233. There were 131 wounded, according to reports.

Shocked survivors have described a frantic rush to the exits as flames swept through the crowded club in the university town, with scores of young people getting trampled and passing out from smoke inhalation.

Victims of the nightclub fire receive medical assistance in Santa Maria. Photo: AFP

Reports said the fire broke out after 2am on Sunday when the nightclub was hosting a university party featuring a rock band using pyrotechnics, but authorities have yet to offer an official explanation.

Survivor Michelle Pereira said the blaze broke out when a band member lifted a firework into the air, setting the ceiling on fire. The flames quickly engulfed the entire room.

‘‘Everyone was pushing and shoving ... The fire started out small, but in a matter of seconds it exploded,’’

Taynne Vendruscolo, another survivor, told reporters ‘‘Those who were close to the stage could not get out.’’

Bortolotto Mattheus, a young dentist, said metal barriers set up at the entrances to organise lines had blocked the exits.

‘‘A girl died in my arms. I could feel her heart stop beating. I had only seen that in movies,’’ he told the Band News television channel.

The discotheque’s fire permit had expired in August 2011, the local press reported. AFP

relative – a member of your family ญาติพี่น้อง
victims – people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc. เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
weep – to cry because you feel unhappy or have some other strong emotion ร้องไห้
packed – crowded; full of people or things แน่น
pyrotechnics – fireworks การเล่นดอกไม้เพลิง
pyrotechnic display – a public show of fireworks
injure – to hurt or cause physical harm to a person or animal ทำให้บาดเจ็บ, ทำร้าย
flare – a bright flame that burns for a short time การลุกไหม้อย่างรวดเร็วและสว่างไสว
set ablaze – to set on fire วางเพลิง
inhalation – the process of breathing in การหายใจเข้า
medical – connected with illness and injury and their treatment ทางการแพทย์, ด้านการแพทย์, เกี่ยวกับการแพทย์
assistance – help; aid ความช่วยเหลือ
municipality – a town, city or district with its own local government เทศบาล
interview – a meeting (often a public one) at which a journalist asks somebody questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. การสัมภาษณ์
perish – to die, usually in a sudden way  ตาย, ตายอนาถ
exit – a place for leaving a building or area; a way out of a building or area ทางออก
initially – at first ในเบื้องต้น
premises – the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง
survivor – someone who still lives after an event that could have killed or destroyed them ผู้รอดชีวิต
incident – something that happens, usually something bad เหตุการณ์
horrible – very unpleasant สะเทือนขวัญ
death toll – the number of people killed ยอดผู้เสียชีวิต
estimated – thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available ประมาณการ
wounded – injured, especially where your skin or flesh is damaged, usually seriously บาดเจ็บ
shocked – very surprised and upset ตกใจ
frantic – done in a very urgent way; so worried or upset that you are not able to control your feelings ซึ่งไม่สามารถความคุมอารมณ์ได้, คลั่ง,มีอารมณ์รุนแรง
rush – moving or doing something very quickly การรีบเร่ง
flames – the brightly burning gases that you see coming from a fire เปลวไฟ, เปลวเพลิง
sweep (past form: swept) – to move or spread quickly through an area; to move something or someone with powerful force  เคลื่อนไปอย่างรวดเร็ว, พัดพาเอาไป
scores – large numbers of จำนวนมาก
trample – to step heavily on something or someone, causing damage เหยียบย่ำ
pass out – to become unconscious  หมดสติ
host – to provide what is necessary to carry out a special event จัดงาน
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
firework – an object that explodes when you light it and produces coloured lights and loud noise – ดอกไม้ไฟ, ดอกไม้เพลิง, พลุ
ceiling – the top inside surface of a room เพดาน
engulf – to cover or surround something in a way that harms or destroys it ปกคลุม
shove – to push with force  ผลัก ดัน
barrier – a bar or gate that stops people, animals or vehicles from entering a place  สิ่งกีดขวางทางผ่าน
entrance – a door, gate, passage, etc. used for entering a room, building or place ทางเข้า
block – to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else  ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
discotheque – a club or party where people dance to recorded pop music ไนท์คลับที่เปิดแผ่นเสียงให้แขกเต้นรำ
permit – an official document that gives you permission to do something ใบอนุญาต
expire – to come to an end or stop being in use หมดอายุ
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about  ท้องถิ่น
press – newspapers and magazines, and those parts of television and radio which broadcast news, or reporters and photographers who work for them สื่อมวลชน

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager