Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil Santa Maria nightclub fire death toll rises to 240

Kiss nightclub after the fire
Image caption Toxic fumes are believed to have killed most of the 240 victims of the fire

The death toll from Brazil's deadliest fire in decades has risen to 240 with the death of a man in hospital, a month after the nightclub tragedy.

Hospital authorities did not specify Pedro Falcao Pinheiro's cause of death. The 25 year-old was one of about 20 survivors battling for their lives.

The blaze broke out in the southern city of Santa Maria after a band set off fireworks on stage, police say.

Most of the victims are believed to have been poisoned by toxic fumes.

A report on the causes of death of the victims is due out in the next few days.

The fire on 27 January led to tighter inspections at nightclubs, cinemas and theatres across Brazil.

The death toll rose from 234 on the night, with six of the more than 140 injured dying of their injuries.

The tragedy has led to widespread calls for tighter legislation and controls for venues.

Image caption Firefighters try to put out the fire at the Kiss club in Santa Maria

The police chief in Santa Maria, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, said that the fire was caused by cheap fireworks meant for outdoor use.

Marcelo Arigony, who is also heading the investigation, said the band playing in the nightclub had chosen not to buy more expensive indoor flares.

On Friday, a court requested the preventive arrest of four people in connection with the disaster - both owners of the nightclub, the singer of the band that was on stage and the band's manager.

But legal experts told BBC Brasil they believed it was likely to be some time before those responsible for the tragedy were brought to justice.

The fire has also prompted widespread domestic concern about Brazil's ability to host major sporting tournaments in the next four years.

The 2014 World Cup is set to be hosted in 12 Brazilian cities, while the 2016 Olympics are to take place in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil's Congress is set to revise legislation in an attempt to strengthen safety regulations ahead of the World Cup.

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