Brazil Club Owner Blames Fire on Country

  • People attend the funeral of Gustavo Goncalves, the most recent victim of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire raising the death toll to 235, in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday. The first funeral services were held Monday for the victims. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    People attend the funeral of Gustavo Goncalves, the most recent victim of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire raising the death toll to 235, in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday. The first funeral services were held Monday for the victims. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • Brazil's former soccer player Ronaldo, left, current soccer player Marta, second from left, and former soccer players, from left, Amarildo, Carlos Alberto Torres and Bebeto present the logo of 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament during a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

    Brazil's former soccer player Ronaldo, left, current soccer player Marta, second from left, and former soccer players, from left, Amarildo, Carlos Alberto Torres and Bebeto present the logo of 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament during a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

  • In this photo released by Policia Civil do Rio Grande do Sul, a police officer inspects victims' belongings after a fire at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria City, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2012. The blaze began at around 2:30 am local time on Sunday, during a performance by Gurizada Fandangueira, a country music band that had made the use of pyrotechnics a trademark of their shows. (AP Photo/Policia Civil do Rio Grande do Sul)

    In this photo released by Policia Civil do Rio Grande do Sul, a police officer inspects victims' belongings after a fire at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria City, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2012. The blaze began at around 2:30 am local time on Sunday, during a performance by Gurizada Fandangueira, a country music band that had made the use of pyrotechnics a trademark of their shows. (AP Photo/Policia Civil do Rio Grande do Sul)

  • FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke, right, and Brazil's former soccer player Ronaldo attend the presentation of the logo for the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

    FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke, right, and Brazil's former soccer player Ronaldo attend the presentation of the logo for the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

  • A girl cries in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    A girl cries in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • Posters, flowers, balloons and flags make up part of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday, killing more than 230 people. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. Almost all died from smoke inhalation rather than burns. The blaze was the deadliest in Brazil since at least 1961, when a fire that swept through a circus killed 503 people in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    Posters, flowers, balloons and flags make up part of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday, killing more than 230 people. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. Almost all died from smoke inhalation rather than burns. The blaze was the deadliest in Brazil since at least 1961, when a fire that swept through a circus killed 503 people in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • Girls cry in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    Girls cry in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • Girls cry in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    Girls cry in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • Marcia Gerhardt, a teacher who lost students in the fire at the Kiss nightclub, prays in front of a makeshift memorial outside the club in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire that killed more than 230 people in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    Marcia Gerhardt, a teacher who lost students in the fire at the Kiss nightclub, prays in front of a makeshift memorial outside the club in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire that killed more than 230 people in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • A man prays in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub early Sunday, where there was no alarm, no working fire extinguisher, no sprinkler and almost no escape from the nightclub that became a death trap for more than 200 Brazilian college students. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    A man prays in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub early Sunday, where there was no alarm, no working fire extinguisher, no sprinkler and almost no escape from the nightclub that became a death trap for more than 200 Brazilian college students. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • A woman bows her head in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub early Sunday, where there was no alarm, no working fire extinguisher, no sprinkler and almost no escape from the nightclub that became a death trap for more than 200 Brazilian college students. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    A woman bows her head in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub early Sunday, where there was no alarm, no working fire extinguisher, no sprinkler and almost no escape from the nightclub that became a death trap for more than 200 Brazilian college students. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • A makeshift memorial that include pictures of the victims of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire begins to form inside a gymnasium where a collective funeral was held a day earlier, in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless Kiss nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday, killing more than 230 people.  The first funeral services were held Monday for the victims. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. Almost all died from smoke inhalation rather than burns. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    A makeshift memorial that include pictures of the victims of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire begins to form inside a gymnasium where a collective funeral was held a day earlier, in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless Kiss nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday, killing more than 230 people. The first funeral services were held Monday for the victims. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. Almost all died from smoke inhalation rather than burns. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • A man cries during a protest near the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The blaze began at around 2:30 am local time on Sunday, during a performance by Gurizada Fandangueira, a country music band that had made the use of pyrotechnics a trademark of their shows. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    A man cries during a protest near the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The blaze began at around 2:30 am local time on Sunday, during a performance by Gurizada Fandangueira, a country music band that had made the use of pyrotechnics a trademark of their shows. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • A young woman weeps as she is embraced by an unidentified man wearing a T-shirt with an image of the crying woman's sister, a victim of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire, during a protest in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Locals marched through Santa Maria Tuesday to demand justice for the dead. The demonstration interrupted a news conference as the police investigator pledged to investigate everyone involved in the tragedy - including the authorities charged with making sure such establishments are up to code. The fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless Kiss nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday, killing more than 230 people.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    A young woman weeps as she is embraced by an unidentified man wearing a T-shirt with an image of the crying woman's sister, a victim of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire, during a protest in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Locals marched through Santa Maria Tuesday to demand justice for the dead. The demonstration interrupted a news conference as the police investigator pledged to investigate everyone involved in the tragedy - including the authorities charged with making sure such establishments are up to code. The fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless Kiss nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday, killing more than 230 people. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • A woman shouts slogans against the city mayor during a protest near the Kiss nightclub where over 230 people died in a fire in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Santa Maria is a college town of 260,000 people that's been stunned by the early Sunday morning tragedy. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    A woman shouts slogans against the city mayor during a protest near the Kiss nightclub where over 230 people died in a fire in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Santa Maria is a college town of 260,000 people that's been stunned by the early Sunday morning tragedy. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • A woman shed tears as she is embraced during the funeral of Gustavo Goncalves, the most recent victim of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire, raising the death toll to 235, in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday. The first funeral services were held Monday for the victims. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    A woman shed tears as she is embraced during the funeral of Gustavo Goncalves, the most recent victim of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire, raising the death toll to 235, in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday. The first funeral services were held Monday for the victims. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • People attend the funeral of Gustavo Goncalves, the most recent victim of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire raising the death toll to 235, in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday. The first funeral services were held Monday for the victims. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • Brazil's former soccer player Ronaldo, left, current soccer player Marta, second from left, and former soccer players, from left, Amarildo, Carlos Alberto Torres and Bebeto present the logo of 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament during a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
  • In this photo released by Policia Civil do Rio Grande do Sul, a police officer inspects victims' belongings after a fire at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria City, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2012. The blaze began at around 2:30 am local time on Sunday, during a performance by Gurizada Fandangueira, a country music band that had made the use of pyrotechnics a trademark of their shows. (AP Photo/Policia Civil do Rio Grande do Sul)
  • FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke, right, and Brazil's former soccer player Ronaldo attend the presentation of the logo for the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
  • A girl cries in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • Posters, flowers, balloons and flags make up part of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday, killing more than 230 people. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. Almost all died from smoke inhalation rather than burns. The blaze was the deadliest in Brazil since at least 1961, when a fire that swept through a circus killed 503 people in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • Girls cry in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • Girls cry in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • Marcia Gerhardt, a teacher who lost students in the fire at the Kiss nightclub, prays in front of a makeshift memorial outside the club in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The repercussions of a tragic nightclub fire that killed more than 230 people in southern Brazil widened Tuesday as mayors around the country cracked down on such venues in their own cities and investigators searched two other nightspots owned by a partner in the club that caught ablaze. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • A man prays in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub early Sunday, where there was no alarm, no working fire extinguisher, no sprinkler and almost no escape from the nightclub that became a death trap for more than 200 Brazilian college students. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • A woman bows her head in front of a makeshift memorial outside the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub early Sunday, where there was no alarm, no working fire extinguisher, no sprinkler and almost no escape from the nightclub that became a death trap for more than 200 Brazilian college students. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • A makeshift memorial that include pictures of the victims of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire begins to form inside a gymnasium where a collective funeral was held a day earlier, in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless Kiss nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday, killing more than 230 people.  The first funeral services were held Monday for the victims. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. Almost all died from smoke inhalation rather than burns. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • A man cries during a protest near the Kiss nightclub where a fire killed over 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The blaze began at around 2:30 am local time on Sunday, during a performance by Gurizada Fandangueira, a country music band that had made the use of pyrotechnics a trademark of their shows. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • A young woman weeps as she is embraced by an unidentified man wearing a T-shirt with an image of the crying woman's sister, a victim of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire, during a protest in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Locals marched through Santa Maria Tuesday to demand justice for the dead. The demonstration interrupted a news conference as the police investigator pledged to investigate everyone involved in the tragedy - including the authorities charged with making sure such establishments are up to code. The fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless Kiss nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday, killing more than 230 people.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • A woman shouts slogans against the city mayor during a protest near the Kiss nightclub where over 230 people died in a fire in Santa Maria, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Santa Maria is a college town of 260,000 people that's been stunned by the early Sunday morning tragedy. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • A woman shed tears as she is embraced during the funeral of Gustavo Goncalves, the most recent victim of the Kiss nightclub fatal fire, raising the death toll to 235, in Santa Maria, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. A fast-moving fire roared through the crowded, windowless nightclub in this southern Brazilian city early Sunday. The first funeral services were held Monday for the victims. Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Santa Maria, Brazil — The owner of a nightclub in southern Brazil where more than 230 people died in a fire last weekend deflected blame to “the whole country,” as well as to architects and inspectors charged with making sure the building was safe, his lawyer said yesterday.

Attorney Jader Marques said his client, Elissandro Spohr, “regretted having ever been born” because of his grief over the fire, but still blamed Sunday’s tragedy on “a succession of errors made by the whole country.”

Police investigating the blaze have said it likely started when a country music band performing at the Kiss nightclub in the college town of Santa Maria lit a flare, which ignited flammable soundproofing foam on the ceiling. That initial error was compounded by the near-total lack of emergency infrastructure such as fire alarms or sprinkler systems, police have said. The club also had only one working door and a faulty fire extinguisher.

Marques insisted in a phone interview with The Associated Press that “my client’s responsibility is having trusted too much in the inspectors and in those responsible for the construction.”

“Hindsight is 20-20,” he said, stressing that public officials had signed off on the club.

The number of injured jumped to 143 yesterday after 22 people were admitted to hospitals with respiratory problems after having escaped the club apparently unharmed. Brazil Health Minister Alexandre Padilha has urged the fire’s survivors to remain alert for any symptoms of so-called “chemical pneumonia,” which can take up to three days to develop following exposure to toxic fumes and smoke.

The blaze also claimed another life late Tuesday, raising the death toll to 235, as a 21-year-old man with burns covering 70 percent of his body succumbed to his wounds. The man’s older brother was also killed in the fire and buried on Sunday. Their grieving mother, Eliane Goncalves, had pinned her hopes on her younger son making a recovery.

“When they went out at night, I blessed them,” G1 internet portal quotes Goncalves as saying. “I asked myself how I would be able to sleep with both of my boys out. But what could I do, follow them? God bless them.”

Yesterday, oversized white graffiti reading “justice for all” appeared on the facade of the club. Brazilian media reported that a crowd of onlookers cheered the young tagger as he worked from atop the club’s roof while police looked on from below. He escaped over neighboring roofs, the reports said.

Earlier this week, police detained Spohr, the club’s other co-owner and two musicians who were playing in the club when the fire broke out, and are holding them for five days as part of the investigation. Spohr is in police custody at a hospital in a nearby town, where he’s recovering from a respiratory infection and is said to be suffering from depression.

Lilian Caus, one of the officers watching Spohr, said he had made a suicidal gesture, removing a shower hose and tying it to a bathroom window Tuesday.

Marques denied reports that overcrowding helped cause Sunday’s tragedy, insisting there were only 600 to 700 people in the club at any one time.