Brazil Club Fire Sparked by Band's Penny-Pinching
Outdoor flares cost a lot less, says lead investigator
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2013 7:05 AM CST
People march into a tunnel near the Kiss nightclub honoring the victims of early Sunday's fatal fire inside the club in Santa Maria, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

(Newser) – Just when you thought the Brazil nightclub fire story couldn't get any gloomier comes this revelation: It appears the blaze that killed more than 230 can be pinned on the band's desire to save a few bucks. The lead inspector in the case told the media yesterday that Gurizada Fandangueira intentionally and regularly bought flares meant for outdoor use—because they cost $1.25 apiece, versus $35 for an indoor flare. "The flare lit was for outdoor use only, and the people who lit them know that. They chose to buy those because they were cheaper than those that can be used indoors."

A spark from one of the flares is believed to have ignited the insulating foam that covered the ceiling. After the fire extinguisher (yes, singular) malfunctioned, the blaze raced through the club; CNN reports that the investigation has also turned up proof of fake fire extinguishers. But one of the band's members wasn't so quick to take the blame, telling a local paper, "There were many wires on the ceiling, and there could have been a short circuit." The death toll was yesterday raised to 234, and more than 120 people remain hospitalized for smoke inhalation and burns, with dozens of them in critical condition, reports the AP.

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Showing 3 of 26 comments
Feb 3, 2013 7:50 AM CST
I'm fascinated by people's herd instincts. IF (and it's a long IF) I had been in any way involved in that fire, the LAST thing I'd do is gather in a crowd and carry burning torches and walk through a crowded tunnel. Weird! In a way I like it. People gather in crowds and I go elsewhere. Just been to a 48 000ha nature reserve where there were two other campsites and one bungalow occupied. Total. Had the place virtually to ourselves.
Jan 30, 2013 3:18 PM CST
It was a real "Dance Inferno." Are the club owners being charged with anything?
Jan 30, 2013 1:03 PM CST
Generally, major disasters like this have more than one component. If the band hadn't cut corners, they would have used an indoor flare and not started a fire. If the flare had started a fire, but there were adequate (and real) fire extinguishers, it might have stopped there. If not, if there had been enough exits, then most may have gotten out. If there were the legal limit of people in the building, again, many would have escaped.