(CBS Charlotte) — In the early hours of Sunday morning, fire quickly spread throughout the Kiss Nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil.
The nightclub was over-capacity, filled with college students who were celebrating an end to summer.
Just after 2 a.m., a band took the stage and used pyrotechnics — which local authorities say started the blaze.
As the fire quickly spread throughout the nightclub, hundreds of people scrambled for an exit. The main door to Kiss had been locked, which is common once a show is underway.
Over 230 people lost their lives on that fateful morning, and close to 100 more were hospitalized due to injuries sustained during the fire.
This should be an isolate incident, but nightclub fires happen all too frequently.
In February 2003, The Station Nightclub in Rhode Island caught on fire — also due to the use of pyrotechnics. Furthermore, since 2000, there have been over 10 notable nightclub fires. Overcrowding, locked doors/blocked exits, and pyrotechnics all played a role in these incidents — but the reality is: Nightclub tragedies are preventable.
All nightclubs have safety codes that nightclub owners are supposed to abide by to protect the welfare of their guests. Every nightclub should have several working fire extinguishers and should never be filled past capacity. Devastating nightclub fires occur when codes are not enforced.
How to protect yourself during a Nightclub fire
It’s evident that guests of any nightclub cannot put their safety in the hands of club owners or their staff. When visiting a nightclub, venue, or any large gathering for that matter, always:
• Identify all exits
• Call the local fire department if the business is over-capacity
• Avoid venues that allow indoor fireworks
• (In case of fire…) Get out — Do not attempt to put out the fire as you rarely have more than a couple of minutes to get out of a burning building alive
-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte