Police: Cheap fireworks started Brazil nightclub fire


Firefighters try to put out a fire at a nightclub in Santa Maria, 550 Km from Porto Alegre, southern Brazil on January 27, 2012.


Germano Roratto

Police in Brazil said the devastating fire that killed 235 people at a nightclub was sparked because the band purchased the wrong type of flares.

The death toll rose to 235 Tuesday after a 21-year-old man died of his injuries in the hospital, according to the BBC.

The BBC reports that Police chief Marcelo Arigony said the band bought $1.25 outdoor flares for their pyrotechnics show instead of the safer $35 indoor flares. 

Arigony told AFP that the band bought the flare "that they knew was designed exclusively for outside use."

Survivors told police they saw the singer of the Gurizada Fandangueira band light the fireworks at around 2:00 am local time Sunday, when the fire broke out.

The devastating fire was caused by "the use of fireworks in a closed space" where there were "too many people," Major Jerson da Rosa Pereira of Santa Maria's fire department told AFP.

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Police were also checking the venue's cash register to see if the club was overcrowded.

Four people have been arrested in connection with the deadly fire, including one of the nightclub's co-owners and a band member, reports the BBC.

Arigony told the BBC he blames the band member for starting the fire.

"The pyrotechnics were part of their show. The guys even wore gloves on stage so they wouldn't burn their hands," he said.