Was the Front Door Locked at Kiss Nightclub When Deadly Fire Broke Out?

One of the reasons this morning's fire at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria was so deadly is because the front door was locked at the time the fire broke out, according to Brazilian newspaper Journal O Globo

The newspaper cites Colonel Guido Pedroso de Melo, of the Rio Grande do Sul Fire Department, who claims the club's front door was locked. De Melo also told CNN there were about 2,000 people inside the club when the fire broke out. That is double the club's maximum capacity of 1,000.

De Melo also accused the club's security guards of initially refusing to let people leave the building.

"This overcrowding made it difficult for people to leave, and according to the information we have, the security guards kept people from leaving the building," he said.

That accusation appeared initially in a Brazilian paper, Zero Hora, which claimed survivors told police they'd been stopped from exiting. The reason, they speculated, was because security did not want the 2,000 patrons leaving the building without paying for their drinks.

The fire took most in the club by surprise, contributing to the panic. Luana Santos Silva, a survivor, spoke about her ordeal.

We looked at the ceiling above the stage and it was starting to smoke. It was a friend who showed us. That's when my sister pulled me and we ran.

This morning, many are hoping this tragedy will shed more light on corruption in Brazil. The county has a long history of lax enforcement of public safety codes such as maximum capacities, building codes, public transit maintenance and construction codes.

[Image via Getty]