Pyrotechnics at Ecuador nightclub rock concert trigger 15-fatality fire

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Monday, April 21, 2008

A nightclub hosting a rock concert in Ecuador's capital Quito has been swept by fire ignited by pyrotechnics. At least 15 people are dead and 35 injured.

The nightclub was located around 500 metres from the city's main commercial centre, which is in the south of the city.

Figures for dead and injured come from the Red Cross. 300 people had flocked to the Factory club for a music awards ceremony.

One of the deceased, who were all between 24 and 25 years of age, has been identified but their name is not public. The rest are badly burned and may take up to ten days to identify. 16 of those injured remain hospitalised for burns and suffocation. According to Vice Mayor Margarita Carranco those killed “died because they were in the rear area where the blaze ignited, or because they were trampled by the crowd”.

While rescuers continue to search for any remaining bodies, police are investigating the disaster. One line of enquiry concerns whether adequate safety precautions were taken. Quito Fire Chief Jaime Benalcazar informed local radio that the emergency exits were padlocked shut. Preliminary investigations show that a roman candle lit by a band member triggered the disaster. The Factory had not been authorised to hold the event.

City authorities declared three days of mourning and vowed to sue alongside relatives of the deceased. The city will pay all costs for DNA testing, burial and transport of two bodies to other provinces.


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