Three people, including the lead singer of Brazilian band Gurizada Fandangueira, have been arrested following a fire last weekend in a nightclub which caused the deaths of at least 233 in the town of Santa Maria in Southern Brazil.
A co-owner of the Kiss nightclub and its chief of security have also been arrested, while a manhunt is now underway for the venue's other co-owner. Kiss's proprietors will likely be held accountable for the tragedy, given that their safety certificate had expired last year and had yet to be renewed.
The fire broke out in the early hours of January 27th, five songs into Gurizada Fandangueira's set and it is believed that a faulty pyrotechnics display is responsible. It is being reported that somewhere in the region of 2,000 people were crammed into the club, which had a capacity of roughly half that figure. The venue was hosting a freshers ball for a local university.
The majority of the deceased were aged between 16 and 20 years old. The most common cause of death was asphyxiation from inhaling toxic fumes after the venue's sound insulation went up in flames. Several people were also crushed while trying to flee through the building's sole exit, forcing rescue services to knock through the venue's walls from the street with axes and sledgehammers.
The Associated Press reports that some 50 bodies were discovered in the club's toilets, mistaking the bathrooms for an exit.
Gurizada Fandangueira's accordion player Danilo Jacques is among the dead after he re-entered the inferno to rescue his instrument after already having escaped the blaze.