Four face manslaughter charges for Brazil nightclub fire

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 02, 2013 8:17 PM
Four face manslaughter charges for Brazil nightclub fire

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Prosecutors charged four people with manslaughter on Tuesday for their roles in the January 27 nightclub fire that killed 241 people in southern Brazil, saying they overlooked grave safety irregularities.

The Kiss club's two owners, as well as two members of a band who lit a flare that ignited a soundproofing ceiling foam, will stand trial for manslaughter while four others face lesser charges, including for false testimony.

"They ignored what could have happened to these people for financial reasons," prosecutor Joel Dutra said of the accused.

He said the band knowingly used a cheap firework for a risky special-effects show. Police have said the crowd was over capacity and the club, in the wealthy college town of Santa Maria, should have had more exits. Most of the deaths were caused when victims inhaled toxic fumes trying to escape from the building.

Lawyers for the club owners and band members have maintained their innocence.

Brazil is facing sharp international scrutiny over safety and security issues as it prepares to host the World Cup soccer tournament in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

(Reporting by Tatiana Ramil; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)