Brazil nightclub fire claims new victim, death toll at 238
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A 20-year-old man died on Tuesday from injuries sustained during a January 27 fire at a nightclub in southern Brazil, bringing the death toll from the disaster to 238 and adding to concerns it may rise further.
The health department for Rio Grande do Sul state, where the Kiss nightclub in the college town of Santa Maria is located, did not give a precise cause for the death at the Santa Rosa hospital in Porto Alegre, the state's capital.
Investigators last week said most of the deaths occurred when victims inhaled toxic fumes, such as cyanide, after a flare lit by a band member ignited soundproofing foam in the ceiling, turning the club into a gas chamber in minutes.
Eighty-one people remain hospitalized in Rio Grande do Sul, including 23 on respirators, the health department said. That is down from 126 people that were hospitalized on Friday.
Authorities fear some survivors may have to return to the hospitals, with potentially fatal consequences, because symptoms for late-onset pneumonia could appear gradually.
The U.S. government shipped cyanide-treatment kits to Brazil over the weekend, though a health official warned the hydroxocobalamin medicine they contained would not address other toxins the victims likely inhaled.
Police last week detained two owners of the club and two band members as they look into safety violations including the use of the flare, which was banned for indoor use, and faulty fire extinguishers, exit signs, and blocked access to the club's only exit.
The four detainees have not been charged, but police have said at minimum they are likely to face manslaughter charges.
The latest victim's name was not revealed at the request of his family.
(Reporting by Eduardo Simões; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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