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Grief for Brazilian fire victims: The Church of England Newspaper, February 10, 2013 p 7. February 15, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper.
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The nightclub fire that killed 237 young people last week has led to an outpouring of grief in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria.

In the early morning hours of 27 Jan 2013, a fire broke out at fresher’s ball for new students at the Federal University of Santa Maria at a local nightclub when a member of one of the ignited a firework while on stage.  The device, later determined to have been a signal flare, ignited foam insulation in the ceiling.

The Provincial Secretary of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB) the Rev. Arthur Cavalcante, telephoned Bishop Francisco de Assis of the Diocese Sul Ocidental to offer the church’s condolences and solidarity “to the public of Santa Maria and to seek more information about the incident.”

Bishop de Assis “extended his thanks for the many messages of solidarity from all of Brazil and from Anglican churches worldwide. The Cathedral of Santa Maria, located close to the site of the tragedy, held a prayer vigil this Sunday,” the IEAB reported.

Bishop Miguel Uchoa of Recife told The Church of England Newspaper the death toll was expected to rise as hundreds had been injured in the stampede to flee the burning building. “The Diocese of Recife and it´s churches has been praying for the people and the city there since the morning of that Sunday” fire, bishop said.

Police report that over 90 per cent of the victims died of smoke inhalation. Colonel Guido Pedroso de Melo of the Rio Grande do Sul Fire Department stated that the club’s only exit, the front door, was locked. “This overcrowding made it difficult for people to leave, and according to the information we have, the security guards trapped the victims inside.”

Last week’s night club fire was Brazil’s most deadly blaze since a circus fire killed more than 500 people in Niterói in 1961.