Kiss nightclub fire

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Kiss nightclub fire
Boate Kiss 2013.02.04. 10.jpg
The shuttered nightclub with flowers and messages from mourners
Date27 January 2013 (2013-01-27)
TimeBetween 2:00 and 2:30 (BRST)
LocationDowntown, Sede district, Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
CauseIgnition of acoustic foam by illegal use of pyrotechnics
Non-fatal injuries630[1]

The Kiss nightclub fire started between 2:00 and 2:30 (BRST)[2] on 27 January 2013 in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, killing 242 people[3] and injuring at least 630 others.[4][5][6][7][8] It is the second most-devastating fire disaster in the history of Brazil—surpassed only by the Great North American Circus fire of December 1961, which killed 503 people in Niterói, and the deadliest nightclub fire since the December 2000 fire that killed 309 people in Luoyang, China. It is also the third-deadliest nightclub fire in history, behind the Luoyang Christmas fire and the Cocoanut Grove fire in 1942.


Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul is located in Brazil
Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul
Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul
Map showing location of nightclub in Santa Maria

The party, called "Aglomerados", organized by students from six universities and technical courses at the Federal University of Santa Maria, began on Saturday, 26 January 2013 at 23:00 UTC. Two bands were scheduled to perform that night ("Pimenta e seus comparsas" and "Gurizada Fandangueira").

In the early morning hours of 27 January 2013, a fire broke out while students from the Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM) were holding a freshers' ball. A stampede occurred following the fire, and a lack of exit signs and emergency exits allegedly contributed to the deaths.[9] Most of the victims were between 18 and 30 years old.[10]

Witnesses have said either a flare or fireworks lit by band members may have started the fire.[11] Brazilian police stated that the fire began when the band Gurizada Fandangueira[12] ignited a pyrotechnic device (similar to a signaling flare) while performing on stage.[13] The flare then ignited flammable acoustic foam in the ceiling.[14][15] According to the authorities, other reasons for the high death toll include the lack of emergency exits (the only access in and out of the building was the front door) and the fact that the number of people inside exceeded the maximum capacity by hundreds.[16]

About 90% of the victims succumbed to smoke inhalation.[17] Many people died as they either tried to hide in bathrooms or, in panic mistook them for exits. At least 180 bodies were removed from the bathrooms.[18] More than 150 were injured by the crush at the front door and the rapidly accumulating smoke within the nightclub. Several injuries were also attributed to severe burns caused by flames, with 8 victims succumbing to their injuries in the days and weeks following the incident.

Colonel Guido Pedroso de Melo of the Rio Grande do Sul Fire Department stated that the club's front door was locked. De Melo told CNN: "This overcrowding made it difficult for people to leave, and according to the information we have, the security guards trapped the victims inside."[19]

The fire has the second-highest death toll for an entertainment event in Brazil; it is second only to the 1961 Niterói circus fire, which killed more than 500 people.[20]


Illustration of the nightclub fire.[citation needed]

The exact cause of the fire was not immediately known but it was later found by the investigation and accounts of survivors that an illegal firework device ignited the acoustic foam on the ceiling.[7][21]

Two co-owners of the nightclub and two members of the band were arrested and questioned by police. One of the owners of the nightclub tried to commit suicide while still being treated at the hospital; however, one of the police officers guarding his room noticed the attempt and intervened.[22]

The state fire department found that the premises did not have enough emergency exits and was not authorized to use fireworks. The fire department, however, did issue a permit for the club to operate. The permit stated that the club had two emergency exits. The fact that false information was used by the club and approved by the fire department resulted in a state investigation on the authorities responsible for supervising the nightclub, including the city hall and the fire department itself. It was also reported that the fire extinguishers in the club may have been artificial or were disabled at the time.[23]

On 30 January, the nightclub's owner deflected blame to "the whole country", as well as to architects and inspectors who were commissioned with ensuring the building's safety, according to his lawyer. By that time, the death toll was at least 235.[24] The next day, officials inspected and closed more than 58 nightlife spots around the country as part of a crackdown on unsafe public spaces.[25]

On 2 April, two nightclub owners and two band members were charged with manslaughter.[26]



Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff stated, "I want to tell the Brazilians and the population of Santa Maria that we stand together in this sad moment," before departing early[27] from a summit of the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile to visit grieving relatives of the victims.[28] Rousseff declared three days of official mourning. Santa Maria's city government established thirty days of official mourning.[29][30]

Organisers postponed a ceremony on 28 January in Brasília that marked 500 days to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[10]

The incident resulted in the inspection of safety features of thousands of nightclubs all over the country. In São Paulo alone, 60% of the nightclubs inspected were found to be operating against safety regulations.[31]


  •  Argentina — Argentine Health Minister, Juan Luis Manzur, arranged the delivery of skin transplants for the injured, commenting: "We will make available to our Brazilian counterparts the amount of skin we can provide, according to the existence of it in our skin bank which operates in the Garrahan Hospital."[32]
  •  United Kingdom — on 6 February 2013 during a football friendly match between England and Brazil (2–1) at Wembley, London, players of both teams wore black armbands to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Munich air disaster and to remember those who died in the Kiss nightclub fire.
  •  Russia — President of Russia Vladimir Putin sent his profound condolences to President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff following a nightclub fire in Santa Maria that has caused much loss of life.[33]

See also[edit]

Media related to Kiss nightclub fire at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ Brooks, Bradley; Sibaja, Marco (27 January 2014). "Brazil no safer a year after deadly club fire". AP.
  2. ^ "Death toll rises to 245 in Brazil club fire". Myfox New York. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Morte de jovem eleva para 241 o total de vítimas do incêndio na boate Kiss". Zero Hora. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Autoridades corrigem número de mortos em boate: 232" (in Portuguese). Veja. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Número de mortes após incêndio em boate já chega a 232, afirma polícia". G1. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Autoridades confirmam 245 pessoas mortas em incêndio em casa noturna de Santa Maria (RS)" (in Portuguese). R7 Noticias. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Police up death toll to 245 in Brazil club fire". Associated Press. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  8. ^ Mehr als 200 Tote bei Disco-Brand: "Es war wie in einem Horrorfilm", Spiegel Online
  9. ^ "Death toll rises to 236 in Brazil club fire". Myfox New York. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Brazil nightclub fire in Santa Maria kills 233". ;BBC. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  11. ^ "DEADLY SMOKE, LONE BLOCKED EXIT: 230 DIE IN BRAZIL". Associated Press. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Pirotecnia era comum em shows de banda que tocava em boate". G1. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  13. ^ "Scores killed in nightclub fire in Santa Maria, Brazil". BBC News. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  14. ^ "Police: Brazil nightclub fire kills at least 180". NBC News. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Fire at nightclub kills more than 200 in Brazil". Reuters. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  16. ^ "Fire rips through crowded Brazil nightclub, killing 233". CNN. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  17. ^ Darlington, Shasta (27 January 2013). "At least 220 killed in Brazil nightclub fire". CNN. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  18. ^ Do G1 RS (1 February 2013). "G1 - Morre jovem internado em Porto Alegre após incêndio em boate - notícias em Rio Grande do Sul". Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  19. ^ Kessler, Robert (27 January 2013). "Was the Front Door Locked at Kiss Nightclub When Deadly Fire Broke Out?". Gawker. Archived from the original on 4 February 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  20. ^ "Timeline: Fire in nightclub kills about 200 in Brazil". Reuters. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  21. ^ Do G1, em Porto Alegre. "G1 – Boate informou em laudo ter duas saídas, diz Brigada Militar – notícias em Rio Grande do Sul". Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  22. ^ Leonardo Bonesso Do G1 RS. "G1 – Polícia diz que sócio de boate de Santa Maria tentou se matar – notícias em Rio Grande do Sul". Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  23. ^ Tahiane Stochero Do G1, em Porto Alegre. "G1 – MP abre inquérito para investigar ação de autoridades em Santa Maria – notícias em Rio Grande do Sul". Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  24. ^ "Club Owner Faults Brazil, Officials in Deadly Fire", Express (Washington, D.C.), 31 Jan 2013, p. 6, citing AP sources.
  25. ^ "Officials Inspect, Close Clubs After Deadly Fire", Express (Washington, D.C.), 1 Feb 2013, p. 6, citing AP sources.
  26. ^ "Brazil nightclub fire: Four charged with manslaughter". BBC News. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  27. ^ "Nightclub Fire Kills 233 in Brazil". Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  28. ^ ZEIT ONLINE GmbH, Hamburg, Germany. "Unfälle: Report "Trauriger Sonntag": Feuerinferno im Nachtclub "Kiss" | ZEIT ONLINE". Retrieved 28 January 2013.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  29. ^ "Declaran luto de 3 días en Brasil por tragedia". Milenio (in Spanish). 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  30. ^ "30 días de luto en ciudad de Brasil tras muerte de 245 personas en incendio". El Universal (Caracas) (in Spanish). 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  31. ^ Do G1 São Paulo (31 January 2013). "G1 - Maioria das casas fiscalizadas em SP funciona sem aval dos bombeiros - notícias em São Paulo". Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  32. ^ "Argentina enviará piel para asistir a los heridos por quemaduras". Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  33. ^ "Condolences to President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff". Retrieved 28 January 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°41′3.5″S 53°48′25″W / 29.684306°S 53.80694°W / -29.684306; -53.80694