Brazil disco fire toll climbs to 241
Brasilia: The death on Thursday of a 23-year-old woman raised to 241 the toll in a January 27 fire at a discotheque in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria.
Driele Pedroso Lucas was being cared for at the Hospital Madre de Dios in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, and died on Thursday due to serious pulmonary problems caused by inhaling toxic gases during the fire, medical staff said.
The fire broke out very early on the morning of January 27 in the Kiss discotheque when there were about 800-900 people in the nightclub, well above its maximum legal capacity of 600.
Police said that the blaze erupted when one of the members of the Gurizada Fandangueira band, who were performing at the time in the club, lit a flare that set fire to sound-proofing insulation in the ceiling.
On the day of the fire, authorities confirmed that 235 people, most of them students at the Universidad Federal de Santa Maria, had died, while the rest of the victims died later in hospitals.
Authorities say that 16 people are still being cared for in hospitals in Santa Maria and Porto Alegre and, as in the majority of cases, they are suffering from serious respiratory problems.
Since the day of the tragedy, the two owners of the disco and two members of the Gurizada Fandangueira band have been arrested pending formal charges for Brazil's deadliest fire in 50 years.