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Nightmare in Brazil nightclub: 231 dead

NEED TO KNOW
  • Fire officials: Club was over capacity
  • Owners claim fire systems were adequate
Nightmare in Brazil nightclub: 231 dead

Hundreds of cell phones left on the floor of a burned-out nightclub have been ringing and ringing as families call their loved ones hoping they made it out alive. 

More than 230 people were killed in a fire Sunday at a club called "Kiss" in Santa Maria, Brazil. Survivors say there was unbearable heat and smoke.

About 2,000 people had crammed the club, according to officials. That is double the capacity.

Officials had a hard time identifying the bodies, especially the women, because they left their purses with their identification behind in the chaos.

Witnesses say the fire started during a band’s pyrotechnics display, but the cause of the fire has not been officially determined.

Owners of the club say they will cooperate with investigators, but assert that fire systems were adequate. 

For many, the tragedy brings back memories of a fire in a Rhode Island club in 2003. Pyrotechnics set off during a performance by the band Great White at "The Station" ignited a blaze that that swept through the crowded venue, killing 100 people.

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