The Netflix drama The Endless Night is inspired by a heartbreaking incident that took place in Brazil in 2013.
The news made national and global headlines, such was the scale of the tragedy, and led to widespread reform in the region in an effort to prevent similar catastrophes from unfolding.
The disaster was also the subject of The Endless Night: The Untold Story of Kiss Nightclub, a book written by acclaimed journalist Daniela Arbex.
But what exactly happened? Here’s everything you need to know about the true story behind The Endless Night on Netflix.
The true story of the endless night
In 2013, 245 people died at the Kiss nightclub in the city of Santa Maria, in Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, after a devastating fire broke out.
Most of the victims died as a result of the toxic gases and more than 600 people were injured. It was a student club night, with many of those people between the ages of 18 and 30.
At the time, state legislator Valderci Oliveira said (via CNN) that the scene looked like “a war zone.”
A journalist recounted that there was initially some confusion about what was going on, which prevented many inside from escaping: “Some guards thought at first that it was a fight, a big fight that happened inside the club and [so they] He closed the doors so people couldn’t leave without paying their club bills.”
One survivor told Globo TV (via The Guardian) that “there was so much smoke and fire,” adding: “It was a total panic and it took a long time for people to get out. There were so many deaths.”
The fire is believed to have been caused by sparklers or fireworks, believed to have been ignited by Brazilian country-pop band Gurizada Fandangueira on stage. However, moments later, the foam insulation in the ceiling was set on fire, it is understood.
“Suddenly, they stopped the show and pointed [the flares] up,” a survivor alleged to the Folha de S Paulo newspaper (via The Guardian). “At that point, the roof caught fire. It was very weak, but in a matter of seconds it spread.”
The group played regularly at the Kiss nightclub and said their routine often included pyrotechnics, with guitarist Rodrigo Martins telling Radio Gaucha (via CNN) that they’ve “never had this problem before.”
A police investigation (via Reuters) found that the venue had only one exit, there were no working fire extinguishers and emergency signage was not deemed clear enough.
Those astounding findings weren’t highlighted before the charade because the club’s fire safety certificate had expired in August 2012, according to a member of the National Civil Defense (via BBC News).
Kiss was also said to have been a venue with a capacity for 2,000 people, but experts told BBC Brazil that it should not have held more than 1,300 people.
The tragedy was the catalyst for security inspections elsewhere in the region. Over time, it became known that 60 percent of the places in São Paulo were operating against safety regulations.
In 2021, four people were convicted in connection with the nightclub fire.
The two nightclub owners and the two gang members were found guilty of murder and attempted murder, but in August last year, a Brazilian court overturned the rulings, citing irregularities in jury selection for the trial.
Prosecutors said they would appeal the decision, but no further developments have been reported.
The Endless Night is available to stream now on Netflix. Take a look at our Drama hub for all the latest news. Looking for something else to watch? Visit our TV Guide or Streaming Guide.
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