RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon has extended his condolences to the victims of the deadly fire in a Brazilian night club that claimed 231 lives.
"The Secretary-General was saddened to learn of the tragic fire that occurred in a nightclub in the city of Santa Maria," according to a statement released Monday by the UN office in Rio de Janeiro.
"He was especially sad over news of a very large number of young people, including university students, who have been killed in the fire."
In the statement, Ban Ki-moon expressed his sympathy to families and friends of victims as well as to the Brazilian government and people.
The majority of the victims were students from Santa Maria Federal University, aged between 18 and 30 years old who were at a party in "Kiss" night club. Another 112 students were injured.
The fire in "Kiss" night club began early Sunday morning, when some sparks from fireworks burnt the acoustic insulating foam in the club's ceiling.
According to the fire brigade, the whopping death toll was caused by people's panic as well as the alleged guard's decision to close the doors to avoid the people going out without paying.
So far, the fire's death toll is 231. Among the 112 injured, 79 remain under intensive care, said Brazil's Health Minister Alexandre Padilha.
Padilha said that of the 79 seriously injured, 40 remain in local hospitals of Santa Maria, while 39 were taken to hospitals in Porto Alegre, the regional capital city.
The minister also said the Brazilian authorities have contacted skin banks in Sao Paulo and other Brazilian cities, as well as from Argentina, Uruguay and Peru, for the care of the injured.