Patrice Ellerbe, Staff Writer
Last Modified: 14:08 p.m. EDT, 29 January 2013
SANTA MARIA, Brazil – There should be no surprise that with only one exit, non-functioning fire extinguishers, flammable material covering the ceilings, no sprinklers, and a club 1,000 people over a capacity, and a bands pyrotechnics, this night at the club would not end well.
At the Kiss nightclub in Brazil, a fire broke out early morning hours of Sunday 27 January 2013, resulting in the deaths of more than 230 people.
Given the magnitude of this tragedy, one would surmise that the club would have prior citations for numerous violations. However, according to reports, this surprisingly was not the case, which has raised many questions regarding safety regulations governing buildings and other commercial and residential buildings.
According to the Associated Press, documents have been obtained which included building and fire plan permits. Although the building was technically with compliance, Sunday’s fire highlighted the fact that Brazilian codes are not on par with other developed or developing nations which is both a hazard for its citizenry and nearly 5.5 million visits annually according to the ministry of tourism.
In a document obtained by the Associated Press, the club was already at a “medium” risk for having a fire. The club owner was then informed that the nightclub would need to be inspected annually in order to stay open.
Records show that the last inspection was conducted in August of 2011. Fire extinguishers were among the items scheduled to be checked during the next inspection. After the fire it was determined that the extinguishers in the club were non-functioning. Survivors stated that they tried to use the extinguisher when the fire initially erupted but quickly discovered to their horror that they did not work.
Police investigator, Marcelo Arigony, stated in a press release on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 that it was known that the fire extinguishers were not inspected and further, that the models that were used were of inferior quality and in his opinion should not have been used in the club or any other facility.