Many of the victims inhaled toxic fumes or were trampled in the ensuing panic.
A fireworks display inside a Brazilian nightclub went tragically wrong last night, starting a fire that has killed at least 245 people, according to CNN. Authorities report that 159 bodies have already been removed from the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil.
The local fire chief told the BBC, which reports there was only one exit in the club, “People started panicking and ended up treading on each other.” The club was apparently at its full capacity of between 1,000 and 2,000 partygoers. Aline Santos Silva, a 29-year-old survivor said,
It was really fast. There was a lot of smoke, really dark smoke. We were only able to get out quickly because we were in a VIP area close to the door.
Santa Maria, which lies at the southernmost tip of Brazil near the borders of Argentina and Uruguay, is a major university city and boasts a population of about a quarter of a million. The death toll makes this one of the deadliest nightclub fires in over a decade.