BUENOS AIRES, January 27 (RIA Novosti) – A fire at a night club in Santa Maria, southern Brazil, has probably left at least 232 dead, local police said on Sunday.
The death toll was lowered from the initial figure of 245.
The fire began early on Sunday when a band on stage at the Kiss club started a fireworks display.
Thick smoke engulfed the venue after acoustic insulation caught fire, according to the local reports.
Most victims died after inhaling the toxic fumes or from being trampled during the panic, police said. A total of 131 people have been injured.
Panic intensified when security guards locked the exit. Media reports said the guards were unaware of the blaze and tried to stop people from leaving the building without paying.
So far, a total of 180 bodies have been removed from the building. Some 50 people have been hospitalized, many of them are in a serious condition.
Some 2,000 people were inside the night club when the fire broke out, Estado de S. Paulo reported.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cut short her visit to Chile following the tragedy. A seven-day mourning has been declared in Brazil for the victims of the deadly fire.
A similar incident occurred in Russia in late 2009 when a deadly fire swept through the Lame Horse night club in Perm, 1,400 kilometers east of Moscow after an indoor firework display set the ceiling ablaze, quickly filling the packed club with toxic smoke and killing a total of 156 people.
Updated at 23.47
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