Three arrested in connection with Brazil nightclub fire

By Daniel S Levine,

Three people have been arrested in connection to the deadly Brazil nightclub fire that occurred Sunday morning and killed at least 231 people. Nearly 100 others are still in the hospital and Brazil’s president has called for three days of national mourning for the victims.

According to The BBC, police say that owner of the club Kiss, a member of the band Gurizada Fandangueira and a member of their staff are being questioned. A person who is reportedly the co-owner of the club, located in the city of Santa Maria, is also being sought.

The fire began after a member of the band set off pyrotechnics. The club was reportedly 1,000 people over its capacity, reports CTV News.

“It might have happened because of the Sputnik, the machine we use to create a luminous effect with sparks. It's harmless, we never had any trouble with it,” guitarist Rodrigo Martins told Radio Gaucha, notes CTV. “When the fire started, a guard passed us a fire extinguisher, the singer tried to use it but it wasn't working.”

Officials are also looking into reports that many of the deaths occurred because only one emergency exit was available. There were also reports that security guards had tried to keep some people from leaving before they paid their tab.

President Dilma Rousseff ended her trip to Chile to meet with the survivors and their families. “It is a tragedy for all of us,” she told the press. She declared a national three-day period of morning, while the city’s mayor, Cezar Schirmer, declared a 30-day period. There was also supposed to be a ceremony in the country’s capital of Brasilia to continue the countdown to the 2014 World Cup, but that was cancelled.

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