City Officials Also Under Scrutiny in Brazil Fire

Prosecutors looking for signs of negligence

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 30, 2013 1:24 PM CST

(Newser) – Prosecutors are investigating city officials over the Brazil nightclub fire that killed 235 people over the weekend, Reuters reports, in an attempt to determine whether allowing the club to operate was negligent on the part of officials, the city, or fire inspectors. The inquiry is separate from a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire, in which multiple people have been arrested. (One of the club owners who is currently in police custody attempted to kill himself yesterday.)

Investigators found that the club had only one exit, which was partially blocked, and that fire extinguishers and emergency exit lights didn't work. But inspectors visited the club last April and allowed it to keep its operating permit, leading the mayor to say he feels confident the city "fulfilled its obligation." And the fire department says that, though it was in the process of renewing the safety permit, the club was allowed to operate while waiting. However, the club did violate safety rules; for one, it did not have a permit for the type of pyrotechnics that were used.

Posters, flowers, balloons and flags make up part of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013.
Posters, flowers, balloons and flags make up part of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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