A fire that razed a nightclub packed with university students in southern Brazil left over 200 people dead, police said on Sunday, January 27. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cut short her visit to Chile, where a European and Latin American summit was being held, to supervise government response to the tragedy. Reports said fire broke out when the “Kiss” nightclub was hosting a university party that featured a rock band using pyrotechnics. The fire was the deadliest of its kind in over a decade. Guido de Melo, fire chief of Santa Maria where “Kiss” is located, said the main cause of death was asphyxiation or smoke inhalation. Panic spread as people tried to get out of an exit that was a “small door for lots of people to come out by,” the BBC quoted an eyewitness as saying. Bodies were being removed and taken to a sports stadium as the city’s main morgue is unable to cope. It was reminiscent of the Ozone disco fire that killed 160 in 1996 in Quezon City.
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More details are on the BBC.