One of the top news articles trending around the world today is the nightclub fire in Brazil. According to NKH World published today, 245 people died in that nightclub fire in Santa Maria City in the south of Brazil. The local media estimates nearly 2,000 people were in the club at the time. The band that was playing was using pyrotechnics at the time the fire broke out. The police suspect the fire broke out on the stage.
NKH World goes on to say, “Many university students and others inside the club panicked and rushed to the exit when the fire broke out and smoke filled the room.” Approximately 50 people were injured and were rushed to the hospital for treatment.
The latest report from News4Jax reveals the club went overcapacity. The Kiss nightclub could only hold 1,000 people according to the safety code. Most of the deaths were caused by smoke inhalation but many people were trampled while the frantic crowd rushed to the exits.
Guido de Melo, a state fire official said, “This overcrowding made it difficult for people to leave, and according to the information we have, the security guards kept people from leaving the building.”
Max Mueller who was driving by at the time of the fire said, “Smoke billowed outside the front of the building as the stench of fire filled the air. Muller recorded a video of a chaotic scene outside the club, which showed emergency crews tending to victims and dazed club goers standing in the street. Bodies lay on the ground beside ambulances.”
According to Robert F. Duval, Senior Fire Investigator, National Fire Protection Association, most fires are attributed to combustible interior finish, overcrowding, and problems with egress. Search Networking explains the word egress to mean going out. In this case it would mean a system to put out fire or smoke.
Fires in public places are not a new phenomenon. Traditionally fires started in movie theaters throughout the 19th century. “Common contributing factors in these fires were lighting (candles, gas lamps, or electric stage lights) igniting combustible materials on or near the stage; inadequate, blocked/locked, or poorly designed egress systems; and combustible interior finish.”
Robert F. Duval cites several nightclub fires in his paper, “NFPA Case Study: Nightclub Fires.” The Brazilian nightclub did not adhere to proper fire safety codes. We know the club was over-capacitated. The authorities may find more code violations as the investigation processes.