The Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported that in Manaus, nightclubs with empty fire extinguishers and unmarked emergency exits have been shut down and fined. And in Rio de Janeiro, a consumer complaint hotline has received more than 60 calls since Sunday’s tragedy denouncing hazardous conditions at night spots, theaters, supermarkets, schools, hospitals and shopping malls around the state. Blocked emergency exits and nonexistent fire alarms and extinguishers top the list of most common complaints.
Brazil’s O Globo newspaper reported on its website that the mayor’s office in Santa Maria ordered all nightclubs closed for 30 days while inspections are carried out. In Brasilia, the nation’s capital, lawmakers in the lower house worked on a proposal that would require federal safety minimum standards across Brazil — now, states individually create such laws.
Investigator Arigony said police searched two other Santa Maria nightspots owned by Mauro Hoffmann, one of the partners of the Kiss nightclub, for evidence that could help shed light on the investigation.
Police said earlier that computers that had stored footage from security cameras inside the club were missing — but Arigony said police had found them at a computer repair shop, where they were dropped off a week ago, meaning images from the disaster would not be on them. Owners of the club told police the security cameras hadn’t worked in months.
Both owners of the club were provisionally detained, along with two of the band members. A judge froze the assets of the club’s owners, pending the investigation.
The fire appeared to mark a possible turning point for a country that has long turned a blind eye to safety and infrastructure concerns. The disaster, the worst fire of its kind in more than a decade, has also raised questions of whether Brazilian authorities are up to the task of ensuring safety in such venues as the country prepares to host next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
O Globo published an editorial Tuesday saying it was time for action.
‘‘The tragedy in Santa Maria forces us to seriously reflect over our national culture of leniency, contempt and corruption,’’ it said. ‘‘We must start from the principle that the mea culpa belongs to us all: public servants, owners of establishments that disregard safety regulations, and regular citizens who flout them.’’
Soccer legend Pele, too, urged the Brazilian government to ‘‘make safety and security a priority in this country.’’
‘‘So many young people are no longer with us, they had entire lives ahead of them. I ask God to protect them and take care of their families,’’ he wrote on Twitter.
According to state safety codes here, clubs should have one fire extinguisher every 1,500 square feet as well as multiple emergency exits. Limits on the number of people admitted are to be strictly respected. None of that appears to have happened at the Santa Maria nightclub.
Rodrigo Martins, a guitarist for the group playing that night, told Globo TV network in an interview Monday that the flames broke out minutes after the employment of a pyrotechnic machine that fans out colored sparks.
‘‘I thought I was going to die there,’’ Martins said. ‘‘There was nothing I could do, with the fire spreading and people screaming in front.’’
Most of the dead were college students 18 to 21 years old, but they also included some minors. Almost all died from smoke inhalation rather than burns.
The blaze was the deadliest in Brazil since at least 1961, when a fire that swept through a circus killed 503 people in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro.
Sunday’s fire also appeared to be the worst at a nightclub anywhere in the world since December 2000, when a welding accident reportedly set off a fire at a club in Luoyang, China, killing 309 people.
Associated Press writers Marco Sibaja and Juliana Barbassa contributed to this report from Santa Maria, Stan Lehman contributed from Sao Paulo and Jenny Barchfield contributed from Rio de Janeiro.