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Brazil nightclub tragedy: "Neglect" blamed for blaze

TRAGIC: Relatives and friends carry the coffins of two brothers, Pedro and Marcelo Salla, who died in a nightclub fire, through a cemetery as they prepare to bury them in Santa Maria, Brazil, yesterday. - AP PHOTOS

THERE WERE no fire alarms, sprinklers or fire escapes. And when a band member tried to put out a fire that had been started by pyrotechnics, the extinguisher didn't work.

All the elements were in place for the tragedy at the Kiss nightclub early Sunday (Jan 27). The result was the world's worst fire of its kind in more than a decade, with 231 people dead and this southern Brazilian city in shock and mourning.

Funerals began yesterday (Jan 28), as reports continued to emerge about the accumulation of neglect and errors at the packed night spot.

Brazilian police said they detained three people in connection with the blaze, while the newspaper O Globo said on its website that a fourth person had surrendered to police. Police Inspector Ranolfo Vieira Junior said the detentions were part of the ongoing police probe and those detained can be held for up to five days.

Vieira declined to identify those detained, but the Brazilian newspaper Zero Hora quotes lawyer Jader Marques saying his client Elissandro Spohr, a co-owner of the club, had been held.

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