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Brazil Nightclub Fire: Police Arrest Three in Santa Maria

EduAndrade/LatinContent/Getty Images(SANTA MARIA, Brazil) -- Brazilian authorities have arrested three people in connection to the fire that killed more than 230 people and injured hundreds at a nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, this weekend.

The owner of the popular Kiss nightclub, a member of the band Gurizada Fandangueira and the club's security chief have been arrested and are being questioned by police, the BBC reported on Monday.

A fourth person, who the BBC reports is a co-owner of the club, is still being sought by police.

None of the names of those arrested and being sought have been released.

Coffins lined a gymnasium in Santa Maria on Monday as family members tried to identify their loved ones after a fast-moving fire tore through a crowded nightclub Sunday morning.

A community gym near the popular Kiss nightclub has been converted to a temporary morgue were family members were led in one by one Sunday night and early Monday morning to identify the dead.

Most of those killed on Sunday were either trampled to death or died from smoke inhalation as they tried to leave through the one working exit of the club.

Firefighters attempted to break holes in the walls to free victims at the club, which was said to be filled to its capacity of between 1,000 and 2,000 people.

Authorities in Santa Maria, a college town in southern Brazil, said preliminary evidence indicated the fire was started when a member of the band shot off a flare gun into the ceiling, which caused the fire to quickly spread.

The tragedy was reminiscent of a fire at The Station nightclub in Warwick, R.I., 10 years ago when a pyrotechnics display used by the band Great White sparked a blaze that quickly went out of control, causing a panic that left 100 people dead.

The first funerals for the victims in Brazil were scheduled to begin later Monday for those families who have identified their loved ones.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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