Police Up Death Toll to 245 in Brazil Club Fire - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Police Up Death Toll to 245 in Brazil Club Fire

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BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- Police in Brazil are updating the death toll from an early morning nightclub fire, but this time it is being lowered.

Police say 232 bodies have been brought for identification to a gymnasium in the city of Santa Maria. More than 100 people are being treated at hospitals.

Witnesses say it may have been a flare or a firework that started the blaze. Survivors, police and firefighters are providing the same account of a band member setting the ceiling's soundproofing ablaze.

A doctor who's been treating victims says toxic smoke filled the club and most of the dead appeared to have suffocated. Police say there was only one way out of the nightclub and an estimated 900 people were inside when the blaze erupted.

Firefighters and clubgoers used axes and sledgehammers to try to break windows and walls to free those trapped inside, but police say the majority of victims were trampled to death trying to escape. A club employee says some suffocated as they sought shelter in the bathrooms.

Santa Maria is a university town in Brazil's southernmost state with a population of around a quarter of a million.

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