233 Die In Pyro Fire At Gig

Why did hundreds of teenagers die in a fire sparked by a band's pyro effects? Read about the club's tragic failures here, and why pushing your way out of an emergency can cause disaster.

Ultimate Guitar

At least 233 people have died in a fire at a club in Brazil after a band's pyro display set the venue on fire.

Many died in a crush as people tried to escape through the only working fire exit, and other through smoke inhalation or the blaze itself. Most were aged between 16 and 20 years old.

Sparks from the pyro effects on the stage set soundproofing alight on the ceiling, filling the club with toxic smoke.

"Smoke filled the place instantly, the heat became unbearable," survivor Murilo Tiescher, a medical student (via Reuters). "People could not find the only exit. They went to the toilet thinking it was the exit and many died there."

So many people died in a crush at the exits that they created a barrier which survivors had to clear through so they could escape. Shirtless firefighters, devastated at the loss of life, used sledgehammers and axes to knock through an exterior wall to open up an an exit.

A series of safety failures appear to have put the 1,000 club attendees in danger, which itself may exceed its safe legal capacity.

Brazil is now a country in mourning, and has cancelled an event to mark 500 days until the start of the 2014 World Cup which they will host.

94 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Pyro effects in closed venue, how smart...
    exactly, Even Rammstein tone it down in small venues, and they're known for massive pyro displays.
    Not only that, but Till is also a licensed pyrotechnician, so they cover their bases in terms of safety. If only others were so cautious.
    just like great white
    Seriously, you could just substitute the name of the venue and the band, and it would be exactly the same story. Aren't we supposed to learn from history, so that it does not repeat itself? Maybe no on in Brazil ever heard of Great White or what happened at that gig.
    That's exactly what I thought of when I heard about this. It's so similar and sad.
    i live in Rhode Island USA now where the tragic great white incident occurred. i have driven by and stopped at what is now a makeshift memorial for the 100 who died there. clearly the sound proofing materials need to be fireproof in order to accommodate any pyrotechnics and it is extremely negligent for anyone to have allowed pyrotechnics in such a closed venue. i hope others will learn from this. they obviously didn't learn from us here in america. 233 souls lost to idiocy my heart goes out to their surviving families and friends for their great loss.
    What a tragedy. Condolences on the losses of the families. Something similar happened in 2003 at a Great White concert. People need to go through safety procedures before performing.
    I just consulted wikipedia; the death toll for Great White was 100. That's not even half of this. Really puts things in perspective.
    Danjo's Guitar
    That is a lot of people. Like a lot. Normally in these articles its like 3 dead and 20 injured. But damn, 233. I wouldn't be surprised if they banned pyrotechnics in Brazil. And honestly, they'd probably be justified. On a lighter note, why on earth is it important that the firefighters were shirtless? I kinda hope thats a typo or something.
    My biggest problem isn't with the pyrotechnics, while yes by the sounds of it those weren't safely handled either. Mt my biggest concern is that a venue with 1000 people in it only had one working fire-escape, by the sounds of it there were more than one, they were just blocked. Any venue that has a large capacity should have a number of emergency exits proportional to this. It's simple logic: More people need more fire escapes.
    I agree, only having one fire escape is a safety failure on so many levels that it's almost unreal.
    welcome to the world outside the US, public safety and such are a nightmare in other countries even some European countries and I speak from experience living there for 11 years
    I live in the UK (that's outside of the US in case you didn't know).
    I saw this on the news last night, the "shirtless firefighters" were just some of the men that got out in time and volunteered to help.
    Not a typo, that's how Reters described it. I think it helps say a lot about how hard the firefighters were working to get people out.
    Fuck I thought TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY THREE was a typo for like 33 or 23 or something but wow 233 dead. Rest in peace. Damn. Also, maybe indoors bands should use laser shows instead of pyro.
    Apparently they hadn't heard about that Great White gig in Rhode Island a few years back.
    Horrible news. With only 1 fire escape and 1000 in the audience, how much would you bet the promoter oversold the venue to score extra cash? Greed overshadows common sense again...so sad...
    Josh Reubenking
    So sad. RIP my thoughts and condolences are with the families of those who died in this horrible tragedy.
    Poor people, and before people make assumptions that Brazil has no regulations or its a shitty 3rd world country, a large part of the clubs are as good as, if not better than British/american ones, including in terms of safety. Pyro indoors, in a venue with flammable soundproofing, is definitely a bad idea, was probably a lack of forethought, devastated at the numbers...
    I read about this in an online newspaper today. Apparently security kept people from getting out, because they hadn't paid for their drinks yet. I find this rather hard to believe, but everything is possible in our world.
    My friend was telling me today that its apparently due to how Brazil clubs sell their drinks. Instead of paying at the bar you are given a card which they hole punch everytime you buy a drink. At the end of the night you take the card out with you and get it scanned and then you pay. The bouncers wouldn't let people run out without paying.. Whether the bouncers knew there was a fire or not I don't know.
    this is so sad. anyone know who the band was? I wonder how they're holding up after all this. they may have taken some losses as well
    Two things that horrify the shit out of me in relation to this: 1. The stupidity of whoever OK'd this pyro production in the first place. 2. How can civilized people trample other people? These aren't herded cattle tearing through a fence. These are people with the capability of thinking. It just baffles me.
    2. no such thing as civilized when you're scared for your life. survival instincts kick in and there go the rules.
    If I'm ever in a life or death situation, I sure hope you and your nerves of steel are there to save everyone.
    "How can civilized people trample other people?" Easily. You've probably never been in a life-or-death situation before, but survival instincts tend to override everything else. There's no such thing as "civilized" when you're facing your own mortality.
    i like to explain this sort of unfortunate characteristic of us humans with the simple drowning. when you try to save someone who is drowning there is a great chance they could cause you to drown too while they panic. as said already the survival instincts kick in so Often times a drowning victim will instinctively grab anything and pull it down to gain leverage, including a would be rescuer. They just want to try to gain leverage any way they can to keep their head above water. well the same for wanting to get out of a burning building filled with smoke or being riddled by bullets etc. its not about not being civilized it just is an unfortunate result of the The fight-or-flight response or the acute stress response. I'm certain many of those who did survive who were able to recall the tragic moment in detail (many times it is a blurry memory) might be haunted with images of their escape to include bodies alive or not under their path. I'm sure they would be filled with mixed emotions.
    Very sad. But what are 16-20 year old's doing in a CLUB anyway. They should be home STUDYING. This is what is wrong with society. Where were the parents? And now they want to cry
    Among the many things slightly inane about that comment, a lot of 20 year olds don't live at home with their parents
    This is possibly the dumbest comment I've ever read on an article on this site...
    by far the dumbest comment on here..16 year old kids don't have exams everyday of their lives that they're studying for. I went to plenty of shows at clubs in high school, that's what a lot of kids do. how the hell is it their parents fault for letting them go? It's a tragic accident with a horrible result. It's not like they or their parents expected this to happen and should be held accountable for attending it. only people at fault are the club owners for allowing pyrotechnics at a small club, being over capacity and having poor safety measures and fire escapes.
    Congratulations dude - you've discovered the one and only flaw with society, that once fixed, will bring us all to the glorious utopia promised by our elders.
    Club owner, promoter and band all need to be convicted for mass murder. First off, club owner should know about the flamable soundproofing material. Does Great White ring a bell? Band using pyro in and indoor club?
    Mass murder is INTENTIONAL murder. However responsible any one person (or group of people) might be, it was still an accident. And how you can blame the promoter is beyond me...
    the terms used vary negligence manslaughter or homicide; defined without malice or ill will intent on killing in this case it is called Professional negligence "Whenever the conduct of a professional while in the process or as a result of rendering services create circumstance that lead to the death of another individual, then that professional has committed negligent homicide." examples would be a doctor who failed to follow specific hygiene guidelines and resulting in the death of a patient. or how about leaving duct tape on a plane while cleaning it resulting in the plane crashing - Employee Eleuterio Chacaliaza left the tape on by accident and was charged with negligent homicide. so someone approved the use of pyrotechnics and is ultimately responsible. aside from the criminal charges in america and now many other countries someone could be tried civilly with wrongful death. great white band manager trial results - in Superior Court Judge Francis J. Darigan sentenced Biechele to 15 years in prison, with four to serve and 11 years suspended, plus three years' probation, for his role in the fire. The Nightclub owners also received harsh sentences. Michael Derderian received 15 years in prison, with four to serve and 11 years suspended, plus three years' probationthe same sentence as Biechele. Jeffrey Derderian received a 10-year suspended sentence, three years' probation, and 500 hours of community service. Civil settlements by other defendants As of August 2008, nearly $175 million has been offered to the families of the victims of the fire by various defendants in settlement. BOTTOM LINE THEY ARE IN DEEP U-KNOW-WHAT; unless Brazil runs their courts differently and or has different laws and views on such horrible tragedies. i cant figure what happened to the one(s) lighting off the pyrotechnics. nothing will ever make it right but with so much loss of life there will be people wanting some form of justice. so no doubt someone(s) will be held responsible.
    Well, they haven't been convicted but they've been taken i by the police. "Three people arrested following deadly Brazilian club fire" "The club's co-owner, head of security and a member of the band who let off pyrotechnics have been taken in by police" http://www.nme.com/news/various-artists/...
    Why the band and why the promoter? Someone had to OK the use of pyro, sure as hell wasn't either of those people. The person that allowed the use of pyro should be punished.
    I am getting negative feedback on this but it is the truth. I understand many 20 yr olds don't live with parents, but how about 16 year old's? What are they doing in a night club?
    Having fun while they're still young.
    At aged 16? You're right - having fun before they actually have exams that matter.
    You're acting like people at age 16 have exams every day of their lives or something. Also I'm sure 20 year olds would have more reason to study if they were at a university, but apparently people want there to be an age limit for when you can have fun.
    U all are probably just a bunch of Americans who either don't have kids or don't know how to raise them. There are so much laws and crap in your country, hell you can't even beat your kids! And you wonder why there are so much teen pregnancies, kids doing drugs and drinking heavily. Its because of parents like you who do not know how to grow kids. I don't really you, perhaps it is the way you all were grown. Learn some respect.
    Dude either you're joking or your just plain ignorant and retarded. What is wrong with going to a concert lol? I feel sorry for your kid, must just stay at home and study for exams 24/7
    News flash: The fact that you've said any of this proves that your parents did an awful job raising you. If you're the type of parents that doesn't allow their kid to have any freedom, you do not deserve children. Please, don't breed. I sincerely hope that you're sterile.
    as Adam implied I'm shocked that you able to earn $7328 in one month on the internet. did you look at this page G r e a t 7 0 dot co M
    That's a hell of a lot of people. You'd think there would have been better fire safety. That's gotta cause a lot of anger and frustration.