Brazil nightclub fire highlights issue of fire safety codes and regulations

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SANTA MARIA, Brazil -- The nightclub fire that killed at least 233 people in Brazil early Sunday morning is still under investigation and it is reported that two band members and the co-owner of the club have been detained.

Band members were using pyrotechnics inside the club when the fire broke out, but the exact cause of the fire is still being investigated. 

This is not the first time a nightclub fire has resulted in such tragedy.

A nightclub fire in Rhode Island resulted in the deaths of 100 people when pyrotechnics ignited in 2003.

Back in 1977, a fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Ky., killed 165 people among 2,400 waiting to see entertainer John Davidson perform. The fire went undetected at first and there were no fire detectors or sprinklers at the time because they were not required. This fire was believed to be an electrical fire.

Gina Russo survived the Rhode Island nightclub fire but lost her fiance and has since been pushing for fire safety.

“I feel like I’ve done so much, and I’ve spoken so many places,” Russo said. “I try to educate the world on why our fire happened and let’s learn from it and let’s make sure it never happens again … and it did.”

It is a terrifying situation, an example of history repeating itself.

“It’s repeated itself and notwithstanding that the codes that apply to buildings and fire stations … they’re international codes,“ said Steven Adelman, a national security expert. “The problem is the enforcement of those codes is very uneven.”

Adelman stopped by to discuss how to prevent these tragedies from happening again by really understanding your surroundings.

“Again, it’s a dark space with which people are relatively unfamiliar but here in a nightclub setting you have to add in there’s a lot of noise, there are a lot more people moving around, there’s alcohol and whatever other controlled substances there might be,” he said. “Still you have to find the exit signs.”

The Associated Press reports many of the victims of the nightclub fire in Brazil were under 20 years old and some were minors.