Response and legislative changes after the Kiss nightclub tragedy in Santa Maria/RS/Brazil: Learning from a large-scale burn disaster

Burns. 2017 Mar;43(2):343-349. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2016.08.010. Epub 2016 Sep 20.


Purpose: A major fire occurred on January 27, 2013, at 02:30 at Kiss nightclub in the city of Santa Maria, State of Rio Grande do Sul, in Southern Brazil. In this retrospective report, we aimed to describe the nightclub fire event, its immediate consequences, and evaluated its impact on legislation. Our objective was to disseminate the lessons we learned from this large-scale nightclub fire disaster.

Methods: We conducted a literature review in PubMed and Lilacs database from 2013 to 2015 related to the nightclub Kiss, Santa Maria, fire, burns, and similar events worldwide over the past 15 years. We searched in the general press and online media information sites, and seeking legislation about this topic at the federal level in Brazil. We reported on the legislation changes that resulted from this nightclub fire.

Results: Current federal legislation on fire prevention and the scope of public safety, including night clubs and discos, states is the duty of the state and everyone's responsibility, pursuant to Article 144 of the Federal Constitution of Brazil. Thus, the federal union, individual states and municipalities have the power to legislate on fire prevention, and especially to ensure the security of the population. A state law called "Law Kiss", was passed in 2014, establishing standards on safety, prevention and protection against fire in buildings and areas of fire risk in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. On a national level, a law of prevention and fire fighting in Brazil was also drafted after the Santa Maria disaster (Law project no. 4923, 2013). Currently, this bill is still awaiting sanction before it can take effect.

Conclusion: As we push for enactment of the national law of prevention and fire fighting in Brazil, we will continue emphasizing fire prevention, fire protection, fire fighting, means of escape and proper management. All similar events in this and other countries remind us that similar tragedies may occur anywhere, and that the analysis of facts, previous mistakes, during and after the incident are crucial to our understanding, and will help us lessen the chance of future occurrences.

Keywords: Burn disaster; Fire prevention and protection; Kiss nightclub; Legislation; Mass casualty incident; Santa Maria.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Burns / epidemiology
  • Burns / prevention & control*
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Crowding
  • Disasters / prevention & control*
  • Fires / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Fires / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Hydrolases / poisoning
  • Mass Casualty Incidents / prevention & control*
  • Mass Casualty Incidents / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Policy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoke Inhalation Injury / epidemiology


  • Hydrolases
  • cyanide dihydratase