Monday 19 February 2018

Owner arrested over Brazil nightclub inferno

Donna Bowater Rio de Janeiro

The co-owner of the Brazilian nightclub where a fire killed more than 230 people has been arrested along with two members of the band suspected of setting off the flare that started the blaze.

Ellisandro Spohr was held as new details emerged about the safety failings at the Kiss club in the university city of Santa Maria in the south of the country.

In his statement to police, Mr Spohr reportedly confirmed that the CCTV equipment had been removed for maintenance about three months ago.

The fire service said the club's safety certificate had expired in August and survivors claimed that at least one of the fire extinguishers failed to work.

Survivors said security men had initially blocked their escape, believing that they were trying to leave without paying their bar bills.

Police said they found many of the 231 victims piled near the club's only entrance. About 180 bodies were discovered in the bathrooms after apparently confusing them for emergency exits.

"It was terrible inside, it was like one of those films of the Holocaust, bodies piled atop one another," Inspector Sandro Meinerz said. "We had to use trucks to remove them. It took about six hours."

Brazil began days of official mourning as the first 80 funerals of the victims took place in Santa Maria's cemetery. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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