Death toll in Brazil nightclub fire rises to more than 150

RIO DE JANEIRO - More than 150 people died early Sunday in a fire that broke out at a nightclub in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria, local media reported.

"We have confirmed more than 150 victims," Santa Maria police commissioner Sandro Meinerz told Globo television.

Santa Maria fire chief Guido de Melo said there was panic after the fire started and many revellers got trampled.

According to media reports, the fire erupted after 2am (0400 GMT, 12pm Singapore time) when the nightclub hosted a university party featuring a rock band.

The band used pyrotechnics as part of its show, O Globo newspaper reported on its site.

"We have just taken the fire under control," Colonel Silvia Fuchs of the local fire department was quoted by the G1 website as saying. "Now we are removing the bodies."

Family member are gathering outside of the burned-down building in the hope of getting news of their loved ones.

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