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Brazil Nightclub Fire Kills More Than 200 - Police

posted 27 Jan 2013, 06:00 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 27 Jan 2013, 06:01 ]

Death toll in Brazil nightclub fire rises to 200.

SANTA MARIA, BRAZIL (JANUARY 27, 2013)  (TV GLOBO) -  At least 200 people were killed in a nightclub fire in southern Brazil on Sunday after a band's pyrotechnics show set the establishment ablaze, local officials said.

Bodies were still being removed from the Kiss nightclub in the southern city of Santa Maria, Major Gerson da Rosa Ferreira, who was leading rescue efforts at the scene for the military police, told Reuters.

Ferreira said 159 bodies had been removed from the club, and the death toll was likely to rise above 200. He said the victims died of asphyxiation or from being trampled, and there were as many as 500 people inside the club when the fire broke out.

A local police official in Santa Maria, told Reuters the blaze started when a member of the band or its production team ignited a flare, which then set fire to the ceiling. The fire spread "in seconds", Sousa said.

Santa Maria is some 187 miles (300 km) west of the state capital of Porto Alegre.