233 die after band’s pyrotechnics disaster at Brazilian nightclub

Gurizada Fandangueira were playing the Kiss club as part of fresher's celebrations in Santa Maria

At least 233 people have died following a fire at a gig in a Brazilian nightclub.

BBC News reports that the blaze started when the band, Gurizada Fandangueira, put on a pyrotechnics show at the Kiss club in Santa Maria.

The fire broke out after 2am during the morning of January 27, after the band had played five songs. The club was reportedly at double the maximum capacity of 1,000 people, and was hosting a fresher’s ball for the city’s university, UFSM.

Most of the dead were between 16 and 20 years of age. The majority of victims died from asphyxiation after inhaling toxic fumes when the venue’s acoustic insulation set ablaze.

People were also crushed as they tried to escape the venue, which reportedly only had one small exit.

Survivor Michele Pereira, told Folha de S. Paulo newspaper – via Washington Post – what happened:

The band that was onstage began to use flares and, suddenly, they stopped the show and pointed them upward. At that point, the ceiling caught fire. It was really weak, but in a matter of seconds it spread.

Emergency services knocked through the venue walls from the streets, using axes and sledgehammers in order to save those trapped inside. 50 bodies were found in the club toilets, after apparently mistaking the bathroom door for the exit, reports AP.

A morgue has been set up in a local gym, after the city’s main mortuary facility was overwhelmed. 117 survivors are currently being treated in hospital.

Five members of Gurizada Fandangueira survived the fire, but the band’s accordion player Danilo Jacques died.

The event is the world’s deadliest club fire since 300 people died in a fire in a dancehall in Luoyang, China in 2000.

In 2003 at The Station in Rhode Island, North America, 100 people died when the pyrotechnics set off by the band Great White set the venue’s soundproofing on fire.