March 8, 2013 / 2:19 AM / 6 years ago

Victim from Brazil nightclub fire dies, 16 still hospitalized

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A young woman died on Thursday from injuries sustained during a January 27 fire at the Kiss nightclub in southern Brazil, bringing the death toll from the college town tragedy to 241, Brazil’s health ministry said.

Driele Pedroso Lucas, 23, was the last victim on a respirator in Rio Grande do Sul state, but 16 people remain hospitalized after inhaling toxic fumes when a band member’s flare ignited soundproofing foam in the ceiling and set the club ablaze.

Authorities warned in February that some survivors could have to return to the hospital because symptoms for late-onset pneumonia often appear gradually but can be fatal.

The U.S. government shipped cyanide-treatment kits to Brazil to help victims, but cautioned the medicine would not deal with other toxins they inhaled while trying to flee the party through a single exit in the wealthy university town of Santa Maria.

The tragedy has spurred much soul searching in Brazil, which is trying to tighten regulations and its relaxed enforcement of rules before hosting the World Cup soccer tournament in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

Reporting by Daniela Ades; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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