Brazil Nightclub Fire Kills 230

Published 01/28 2013 09:58AM

Updated 01/28 2013 10:02AM

The bodies of the young college students were found piled up just inside the entrance of the Kiss nightclub, among more than 230 people who died in a cloud of toxic smoke after a blaze enveloped the crowded locale within seconds and set off a panic. 

Hours later, the horrific chaos had transformed into a scene of tragic order, with row upon row of polished caskets of the dead lined up in the community gymnasium in the university city of Santa Maria. Many of the victims were under 20 years old, including some minors.

The first funerals of victims were planned for Monday.

As the city in southern Brazil prepared to bury the 233 people killed in the conflagration caused by a band's pyrotechnic display, President Dilma Rousseff cut short a trip to Chile and called for three days of national mourning, NBC News reported. Meanwhile, an early investigation into the tragedy revealed that security guards briefly prevented partygoers from leaving through the sole exit. And the bodies later heaped inside that doorway slowed firefighters trying to get in.

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