February 1, 2013
Brazilian authorities inspected and closed doors on nightclubs throughout the country yesterday as part of an agreement between São Paulo’s governor, Geraldo Alckmin, and Mayor Fernando Haddad in response to Sunday’s deadly nightclub fire that claimed 235 lives and injured 143 in the southern city of Santa Maria. Alckmin stated that the joint response from the government, firefighters and inspectors is an effective method for ensuring nightclubs are complying with regulations. According to Erick Hoelz Colla, the acting commander of the Fire Department, the joint action will affect 230 businesses in the city. This initiative comes a week before Brazil’s annual Carnaval celebrations welcome thousands more nightclub goers and tourists to the city.
Leading police investigators have identified a series of potential code violations that seem to have exacerbated the impact of the fire. Investigators said that the band, Gurizada Fandangueira, used pyrotechnics meant for outdoor use only, that permits had expired, and the club only had one exit and no sprinkler system. Band members claim that pyrotechnics didn't cause the fire, but rather the club's faulty wiring was the catalyst. Mayor of Santa Maria Cezar Schirmer—who has been under attack for failing to enforce building codes—said the club met standards when it was last reviewed.
President Dilma Rousseff has advised mayors across the country to assume greater responsibility for code enforcement and to crack down on avoidable accidents.