Brazil court convicts two firefighters in nightclub fire

Two firefighters in Brazil have been convicted over a nightclub fire that killed 242 people in the south of Brazil more than two years ago.

Lt Col Moises da Silva Fuchs and Cpt Alex da Rocha Camillo were found guilty at a military court of making a false declaration in the licence for Kiss nightclub in the university town of Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul.

Fuchs was also convicted of misconduct for not sanctioning an officer, who also managed a company responsible for renovations at the club.

Six other firefighters were cleared over inspection failures before the fire after a two-day hearing. The officers hugged each other in court as public prosecutors asked for them to be acquitted.

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In a statement, the military court’s special council said Fuchs and Camillo had been sentenced to a year each, while Fuchs was sentenced to a further six months for misconduct. Their lawyers say they will appeal.

Relatives of victims were disappointed with the result, with one mother remaining seated in court after the five judges gave their verdicts.

It was the first trial in the case, which has been under investigation since it happened in January 2013.

Most of the victims were university students who had been at the club to see a folk band. The fire was said to have started when one of the band members let off a flare on stage.

As well as the military case, there is also a criminal case against the owners of the nightclub, who have not yet stood trial.

Kelen Ferreira, 22, who survived with burns down both arms and had part of her right leg amputated after the strap of her sandal melted into her ankle as she tried to escape, said she was “very sad” with the result.

“I don’t know what might happen,” she said. “I’m afraid it will gounpunished.”



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