BRASILIA, Brazil-At least 232 partygoers in Brazil were killed in yet another worst nightclub fire incident in recent history.
The fire which broke early Sunday occurred at Kiss nightclub wherein thousands of youngsters and college students mostly from the Federal University of Santa Maria attended the concert of Gurizada Fandangueira, a local country music group.
Witnesses said the fire started to erupt when members of the band lit up flares which caught the ceiling’s sound proofing system on fire.
“In a matter of seconds the fire spread,” said one survivor.
As the club was engulfed with deadly smoke and fire, party-goers panicked towards the exits. Many however were trapped dead in stampede, authorities said.
Rescuers and firefighters rushed into the scene but it was already too late as the fire quickly spread throughout the club.
“Most of the dead apparently died of asphyxiation,” paramedics and health workers said.
A nearby gymnasium has been turned into a makeshift morgue so residents and families can easily track their dead loved ones.
Santa Maria Mayor Cezar Schirmer declared a 30-day mourning period due to the nightclub fire incident.
“This is a sad Sunday,” said Rio Grande do Sul governor Tarso Genro when he arrived into the scene.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is also expected to cut short her Summit trip from Chile to attend his people on the tragedy.
World’s worst nightclub fire disasters in recent history include the death of 309 people in a club at Luoyang, China, in Dec. 25, 2000; the killing of at least 194 partygoers at an overcrowded nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2004; the death of 152 people when an indoor pyrotechnics exploded at the Lame Horse nightclub in Perm, Russia, in Dec. 5, 2009; and the death of 100 people in Rhode Island, USA when pyrotechnics of 1980s rock band Great White set ablaze the nightclub’s concert hall.