Photo: Deadly Fire, Santa Maria, Brazil
Brazilian authorities are reporting that at least 245 people have died in a 2:00 a.m. nightclub fire and that death toll could rise throughout the day.
A fire swept through the Kiss Club in Santa Maria, Brazil with some reports saying it started from a fireworks display inside the club while a band was performing. Other reports indicate that the lead singer of the band set fire to a flag that ignited low hanging roof material.
It is believed that the club only had one exit. At least 245 bodies have been brought to the local gym for identification but the search for more victims inside the club continues. Another 200 individuals are reported as injured.
Santa Maria is located in the southern portion of the country, near the border of Argentina and Uruguay. The nightclub is reported to have a capacity for 1,000 to 2,000 people.
Early reports indicate that most of the victims died from smoke inhalation and others were trampled to death in the panic to leave the burning club.
Santa Maria is a well known college town that is home to the Federal University of Santa Maria, and other private colleges.