Ten years later, signs among the Kiss nightclub survivors that time does not heal

that dawn of January 27, 2013 it seemed normal, with the usual occurrences for such a city Saint Mary. So recalls the soldier of the Altamir military brigade Teixeira da Rosa, then 38 years old. The military policeman says that he and his patrol partner, Thiago dos Santos Flores, also a soldier, passed in front of the club at dawn, just before the fire broke out, and realized that there was a lot of movement. Then, the two MPs went to witness an incident on Avenida Presidente Vargas, not far from Kiss. It was then that they heard on the BM radio about the start of the fire. “We went there to help”, he says, recalling the horror scenes he witnessed when he arrived on the spot: “There were people crying, screaming, some amazed, without reacting, walking aimlessly”, he describes. “These are scenes that you never forget, it seemed that a bomb had exploded there, because there were many people on the ground”. The fire killed 242 people and injured more than 600.

Then Altamir and his colleague in uniform looked for their colleagues and offered to help them. The first service was to transport sick people to hospitals in the city. There were at least four wounded at a time. Shortly thereafter, Altamir began helping remove the bodies from the nightclub and loading them onto trucks that would take them to the city’s sports center, known as Farresão. “I helped load the bodies onto four trucks. During the move, I found a cell phone with 72 calls, all made by the girl’s mother, who owns the phone. “In the last truck that I helped put the dead, I found my cousin,” Altamir recalled.

Photo: Alina Souza

After 18 hours of service, Altamir returned home. He says he didn’t react at first. He arrived at his residence and took off his uniform as soon as he entered, as he had burnt human skin attached to the fabric. Then he got in the shower and stood there for a while which his wife was worried about. He opened the door to the room and asked what had happened, if she was okay. “At that moment I understood what had happened and I cried a lot,” he says. “What happened to Kiss I hope I never see again,” comments the soldier.

His work at KISS has given the prime minister, assigned to the 1st Police Mounted Regiment (RPMon), health and emotional problems. Altamir says he started having nightmares, not wanting to work the night shift anymore, having asked to change hours. Having participated in the expulsion of people from inside the room, he also has lung problems, having even breathed the toxic gas (cyanide), which was released when he burned the foam used to make the soundproofing. “I was the first recognized case of an accident at work,” he says. “I continue to work, I have not quit my job and I have not even asked for any refund.”

moments of terror

Dental technician Delvani Brondani Rosso, 30, was saved by his brother Jovani from death inside the Kiss nightclub. Resident in the municipality of Manoel Viana, he was the second time that he went to Kiss, accompanied by friends. He recalls that the club was overcrowded, with people everywhere, barely walking. Therefore, Delvani, who had 45% of his body burned in the fire, went with two other friends to the place where the pub was, having nowhere else to stay. “We arrived around 1.15am and until 2.00am everything seemed normal. Suddenly a guy who was in the pantry started yelling ‘fire’, but given the amount of people it seemed he was far away”.

When the boy, whom Delvani doesn’t know, shouted that there was a fire, he and his friends walked slowly, until during the walk, the crowd increased pushing them, causing Delvani and the two friends to intertwine their arms so as not to get lost. . However, the pressure from the crowd made them disband. “When I got to the area where the pantry was, the light went out. I think it was nice that we didn’t see people fall,” he comments. “It was pitch dark. You couldn’t see anything until the smoke started to go down and it was terrifying, with people screaming, the sound of glasses breaking,” he reconstructs the panic that had set in at the disco.

A little further on, he felt his legs go weak after inhaling the smoke and got to his knees. Delvani said he thought he had to stand up and breathe if he was to save himself. But he, he says, he was very hot, the feeling is that he was burning his face. “I felt there was no way to save myself, mentally saying goodbye to my family and talking to God,” he said. “Soon after, I passed out. My friends are dead. Cassio, dead in the bathroom. He went towards a light that was there, thinking it was the exit and he was cornered, and Henrique I don’t know where he was found.

The brother, who saw the fire and managed to get out of the club in time, couldn’t find Delvani. Jovani, who now resides in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, began helping save the bodies. “He located me and picked me up, carrying me out of the club,” he recalls. “I have enormous pride in my brother, who I think is a hero, because he has saved other people,” he says.

Delvani believes that a sheet of foam that served as sound insulation fell on him, as his back was hit the hardest, with the shirt sticking to his skin. “My lungs were also very damaged, it’s like I’ve been smoking for 20 years,” he reveals. “I have to exercise to keep my lungs active.”
The survivor of the tragedy, the animal husbandry Victoria Bartner, 31, was also traumatized. She says she went clubbing to enjoy a college party and stayed with her friends right in front of the stage. Just before the fire broke out, she and a friend went to the bathroom and when they got out they noticed that a crowd was making their way to the front door in an uncontrolled manner. The door was locked and people tried to open it, but they couldn’t. “Then the smoke came and the lights went out. People started screaming,” recalls Victoria, who has been living in another city for four years. “Shortly afterwards I felt sick and fell to my knees. The smell was getting stronger. There were a lot of people running at me, everyone was pushing everyone else. I remember pulling my hair and someone took me to the parking lot which is right in front of the building where the nightclub was,” she recounts.

Photo: Alina Souza

Victoria said when she recovered, she looked at herself and got scared. Her clothes were all torn and her body was covered in soot. People leaving the building took a few steps and fell. When they saw the fall, Victoria recalls, some cried out that the person was dead. “I remember throwing up a black goo. When we got to the hospital, the doctor told me that vomiting had been my salvation,” she says.

Victoria claims the fire turned her into another person. Currently, she feels great agony when she is indoors. In addition to her physical problems, the animal husbandry says that after the fire she always wakes up at dawn, at the same time the fire would have broken out, around 2:30. “Today I consider myself well, despite everything”.

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