January 27th, 2013
07:15 AM ET

Brazil nightclub fire death toll 233 and rising

[Update 2:49 p.m. ET] The death toll in Sunday's nightclub fire in Brazil has risen to at least 233, officials say.

Panicked crowds pushed toward the exits as fire swept through the packed Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria. Many died of smoke inhalation, state-run Agencial Brasil reported. Others were trampled, a security guard told CNN affiliate Band News.

[Original post 7:15 a.m. ET]  A fire swept through a popular nightclub in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria, killing at least 90 people early Sunday, officials said.

The death toll was expected to climb as firefighters continued to pull bodies from the Kiss nightclub, Col. Adilomar Silva, the regional coordinator of civil defense said.

Most of those killed appeared to have died of smoke inhalation, he said. Hundreds are believed to have been injured, though an exact count was not immediately available.

The fire started at about 2 a.m. after the acoustic insulation in the Kiss nightclub caught fire, he said.

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