Over 200 people dead after a fire ravaged through a Brazil nightclub.
According to witnesses, security guards wouldn’t allow people to leave the club because they had no idea that there was a fire.
The bouncers did not allow people to leave because they couldn’t prove that the club patrons had paid their bills.
People were reportedly screaming “there’s a fire”, but were left trapped inside the burning club.
The Kiss nightclub had about 2,000 people inside when the fire broke out. The band performing that night setup fireworks that may have caused the fire.
Many of the victims died of suffocation. Some of them were trampled on when people stampeded out of the venue. The building only had one emergency exit, according to police.
Murilo de Toledo Tiecher, a 26-year-old medical student, told a local newspaper that people were screaming “there’s a fire” but the security guards kept the doors shut.
“Five or six people knocked over one security guard and knocked down the door. It was the only exit.”
“The first people to get out tried to pull out whoever was still inside. Hands and arms appeared from the curtain of smoke. We pulled out various people. I pulled out a girl by the hair. It was chaos, the worst desperation.”
Apparently the club had been operating illegally. Fire extinguishers weren’t working and there was only one exit.
Santa Maria’s civil defence coordinator, Moises Fuchs, said the club’s licence to function had expired and had not been renewed because there was only one emergency exit.
Police continue to search the nightclub and expect the death toll to rise.