Rio de Janeiro, Jan 27 (IANS) A massive fire in a crowded nightclub in Brazil killed at least 180 people and injured more than 200 others, Xinhua reported Sunday.
Police said there were about 20 bodies still inside the club and the toll in the fire at the "Kiss" nightclub in Santa Maria could rise.
There was a party going on for college students in the nightclub when the fire started around 2.30 a.m.
A band member performing on stage reportedly lit fireworks that caused the fire.
The fire spread very fast, with the room quickly filling with black smoke.
There was only one exit for the nightclub, which reportedly caused a stampede as the partygoers tried to escape.
Mayor Gerson da Rosa Ferreira said the deaths were caused by asphyxiation or trampling and that 500 people were in the nightclub when the fire broke out.
The nightclub, which can hold 2,000 people at a time, was popular among local youths and college students.
Santa Maria is located at the southern tip of Brazil near the borders with Argentina and Uruguay. It is a major university city with a population of around a quarter of a million.