HEALTH & SAFETY
Live events sector
The owner of the Kiss nightclub in southern Brazil where 238 people died in a fire has said he wishes he had never been born, and has deflected blame to architects, safety inspectors and “the whole country”. His lawyer, Jader Marques, said his client, Elissandro Spohr (28), “regretted having ever been born” because of his grief over the fire, but still blamed Sunday’s tragedy on “a succession of errors made by the whole country.” Spohr and co-owner Mauro Hoffman had been arrested, along with Gurizada Fandangueira member Marcelo Santos, who was arrested at the wake of band member Danilo Jacques who died in the fire.
As the toll of those injured continued to grow as some 22 of those who escaped returned to hospital with respiratory complications, police investigating the blaze have confirmed it is likely to have started when the band Gurizada Fandangueira lit an allegedly cheap outdoor flare, which ignited soundproofing foam on the ceiling. That initial error was compounded by the near-total lack of emergency infrastructure such as a fire alarms or sprinkler systems. It also seems that the club also had only one working door, one or more faulty and sub-standard fire extinguishers and has not been inspected in the last twelve months. A number of details are disputed by the local Fire Department.
Marques denied reports that the club was overcrowded, insisting there were only 600 to 700 people in the club at any one time – below the 700 capacity. One performer told media that the space was packed with an estimated 1,200 to 1,300 people and local Police have given the same estimate but Marques insisted that any higher tallies of people at the club that night were due to club-goers cycling in and out
As Brazil looks forward to hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, lawmakers in the lower house in Brasilia have already begun working on a proposal that would require federal safety minimum standards across Brazil rather than state regulations. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who met with the bereaved relatives, has called for a stricter safety rules across the country. The newspaper O Globo reported that the mayor’s office in Santa Maria has ordered all nightclubs closed for 30 days while inspections are carried out and The BBC reported that mayors from at least eight major Brazilian cities, including seven of the 12 World Cup host cities, have thus far announced new measures aimed at preventing similar tragedies.