Investigators are determining the causes of a nightclub fire that killed at least 234 people in southern Brazil early Sunday, with criminal charges and other consequences likely. Here's a look at the legal and political fallout from some of the biggest nightclub fires of the past two decades:
— A 2009 fire at the Lame Horse nightclub in Perm, Russia, killed 156 people when an indoor fireworks display ignited a plastic ceiling decorated with branches. Four people, among them the club's co-owner and manager, were arrested on charges that included violation of fire safety standards and negligence. The co-owner received a 6 ½-year prison sentence. Six fire officials including the local fire chief were suspended during the investigation, and the regional governor resigned.
— A 2004 fire killed 194 people at an overcrowded working-class nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after a flare ignited ceiling foam. Seven members of the band playing at the club received prison sentences. The building owner was sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison, and the nightclub owner received a seven-year sentence. Buenos Aires Mayor Anibal Ibarra was impeached and dismissed due to criticism over the tragedy, and some clubs in the city adopted a stricter building code.
— A 2003 nightclub fire in Rhode Island in 2003 killed 100 people after pyrotechnics used as a stage prop by the 1980s rock band Great White set ablaze cheap soundproofing foam on the walls and ceiling. The club's owners and the band's tour manager pleaded no contest to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter. One of the owners and the tour manager served prison terms.
— A 2000 fire blamed on a welding accident tore through a disco in the central Chinese city of Luoyang, killing 309 people. A court sentenced 23 people to up to 13 years in prison for the tragedy.
— A 1996 fire at the Ozone Disco Pub in Quezon City, Philippines, killed 162 people, many of them students celebrating the end of the school year. The president and treasurer of the company that operated Ozone received four-year prison terms and were fined. Six people connected to the club were ordered to pay indemnity to relatives of the dead and to the injured.
Associated Press news researcher Monika Mathur in Washington, D.C., and writer Jack Chang in Mexico City contributed to this report.
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