(Guyana Guardian) – Venezuela’s Interior Minister Nestor Reverol has confirmed that eight minors were among the 17 people who were roasted to death in the “Los Cotorros” club fire, which occurred during a school-closing celebratory party in central Caracas several hours ago.
In an email exchange with the Guyana Guardian last evening, an aide to the Minister further explained that the remaining nine persons were no older than 20-years-old.
The fire which was said to be caused by a smoke canister that exploded during a brawl at the club, triggered a stampede, as party-goers made a terrified rush for the exit.
Referring specifically to the incident, Minister Reverol said that “the establishment has been ordered closed, and we are investigating in coordination with the public ministry, which is directing the criminal investigation,”.
He also confirmed the arrest of the person who is suspected of throwing the canister, along with six others, who are believed to be a part of the club brawl.
It is widely believed that more than 500 people were inside of the club at the time when the fight broke out.
It remains uncertain as to whether the club had adequate safety policies in place. But several observers were critical of the venue while lamenting that it was not equipped to accommodate the volume of people that were in it, at the time of the fire.
Police have since arrested the owner of the club, and have cited him for “not guaranteeing adequate supervision and for complacency in preventing the entry of any type of weapon”.
Some parents have also accused the club of closing its doors when the canister was thrown, thus making it difficult for the children to leave.
The children were attending an end-of-school celebration at the time, which is not an unusual occurrence for young people in Venezuela, who would often bring the curtain down at the end of their high school years by throwing a celebratory party.
A major investigation into the incident is expected to last for several weeks.