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Pop-Country Band at Center of Tragic Brazil Club Fire

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Officials say pyrotechnics set off by the band Gurizada Fandangueira started a fire that killed 233 people in southern Brazil early Sunday morning (Jan. 27). Many more are being treated for injuries as crews dig through the debris at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria.

The Brazilian pop-country band boasts its pyrotechnics show on their Facebook page. It was a hometown show for the 10-year veterans, and the fire is said to have begun between the fourth and fifth song of their set, around 2:30AM local time. Reuters reports that most of those who died were suffocated by the fumes as the fire carried to the soundproofing on the ceiling, creating toxic smoke.

The club’s capacity was 1,000, but reports from survivors suggest almost 2,000 could have been inside. Local fire personnel described a “barrier of the dead” at the entrance to the club. They had to clear a path to get to survivors inside.

Billboard reports that Gurizada Fandangueira accordion player Danilo Jaques died in the fire when he fell behind his bandmates as they escaped. Drummer Eliel de Lima tells Globo’s G1 the remote controlled-triggered sparklers usually only last a few seconds.

According to reports, 120 men and 113 women died in the fire. Many were students at a nearby university. The tragedy instantly brings to mind similar events, including the 2003 fire in Rhode Island during a Great White show.

Next: See the Scariest Tour Bus Accidents Involving Country Artists

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