Four detained in Brazil tragedy

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 28 January 2013

brazilfirefuneral

SANTA MARIA – Brazilian police officials said today they had made three detentions and were seeking a fourth person in connection with a blaze that raced through a nightclub in southern Brazil over the weekend, killing more than 230 people. Inspector Ranolfo Vieira Junior said at a news conference that the detentions were for investigative purposes and those detained could be held up to five days. He declined to identify those detained or the fourth person sought, but the Brazilian newspaper Zero Hora quoted lawyer Jader Marques as saying his client, Elissandro Spohr, a co-owner of the club, had been held. The paper also said police detained two band members who were on stage when the blaze broke out and were thought to have used pyrotechnics in their act.A military brigade official said yesterday the death toll stood at 231 people in the early Sunday blaze in the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, a university town of about 260 000 people in southern Brazil. Many of the victims were under 20 years old, including some minors. Most victims died from smoke inhalation rather than burns. Police have said they thought the pyrotechnics ignited sound insulation on the ceiling, while witnesses have reported a fire extinguisher did not work and that there was only one working exit. Many of the dead were also found in the club’s two bathrooms, where they fled, apparently because the blinding smoke caused them to believe the doors were exits. (AP)

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