Brazil Arrests 3 in Nightclub Fire

Police still looking for one of the club's co-owners

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 28, 2013 8:56 AM CST

(Newser) – Police have arrested three people in connection with the fire that killed more than 230 nightclub-goers in Santa Maria, Brazil, yesterday: One of the club's co-owners, its chief of security, and a member of the band Gurizada Fandangueira, the BBC reports. Police are reportedly seeking another club co-owner as well. The club's safety certificate expired last year, one co-owner has reportedly confirmed.

The owners have reportedly received death threats online, as have the surviving members of Gurizada—its accordion player is among the dead. The band's guitar player told a local radio interview that the band's spark-generating machine may have caused the fire, but added, "It's harmless; we never had any trouble with it." The first funerals were held today, as Brazil declared a national day of mourning and postponed an event marking 500 days until the 2014 World Cup.

A man stands around coffins containing the remains of victims after the bodies were identified at a gymnasium in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Jan. 27, 2013.
A man stands around coffins containing the remains of victims after the bodies were identified at a gymnasium in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Jan. 27, 2013.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Soldiers stand at attention as relatives and friends carry a coffin during the burial of fire victim soldier Leonardo Machado, at a cemetery in Santa Maria city, Brazil, Jan. 28, 2013.
Soldiers stand at attention as relatives and friends carry a coffin during the burial of fire victim soldier Leonardo Machado, at a cemetery in Santa Maria city, Brazil, Jan. 28, 2013.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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