Following the devastating fire that left 231 people dead in a nightclub in the southern Brazilian town of Santa Maria, the country has declared a three day period of mourning for the victims, mainly students who were killed in the fire.

This footage shown on a local TV station shows fire fighters at the Kiss night club, after a local band lit a flare which set the highly flammable ceiling sound proofing on fire. The flames spread quickly in the overcrowded nightclub. The clubbers believed to be up to 2000 strong, attempted to get out but were hampered by heavy smoke and toxic fumes. Here clubbers in a desperate act are hacking at the walls to try and release those trapped inside.

And inside the Santa Maria gym hundreds of distraught family members and friend's gather to identify their loved ones. With funerals planned from today.

This deadly nightclub fire is the worst in fifty years. And the tragedy, in one of the most prosperous states comes as the country scrambles to improve safety, security and logistical shortfalls before the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

I am Ann salter thanks for watching. Stay tuned for the latest news on this story with me at

Written and presented by Ann Salter