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Death toll more than 230 in Brazil club fire

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) - The grim task of identifying the bodies of the more than 230 people who died in a Brazilian nightclub fire continues.

Witnesses say a flare or firework lit by band members may have started the blaze early Sunday at the club in Santa Maria. Survivors, police and firefighters are providing the same account of a band member setting the ceiling's soundproofing ablaze.

A doctor who's been treating victims says toxic smoke filled the club and most of the dead appeared to have suffocated.

More than 100 people are being treated at hospitals.

Many of the victims were under 20 years old, including some minors

Officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation -- though a police inspector tells a Brazilian news agency the band was to blame for a pyrotechnics show and that manslaughter charges could be filed.

Santa Maria is a university town in Brazil's southernmost state with a population of around a quarter of a million.


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