In the wake of the tragic fire in southern Brazil that killed 234 victims, stories of selflessness and courage have begun to emerge.
Lt. Leonardo Lacerda Machado managed to escape Kiss nightclub after a fire raged through the facility during a concert, but the 28-year-old decided to return to the scene and help others. He saved one person, but died of smoke inhalation, Jornal Do Brasil reported, as translated by the Huffington Post.
PHOTO: Lt. Leonardo Lacerda Machado, Facebook. Story continues below.
"He had already gone outside and come back to help a fellow officer. After getting him out of the club, he came back one more time. This is the natural attitude of an Army official," Colonel Mario Fonseca of the Eastern Military Command told the news outlet.
Eight soldiers died trying to save people in the fire that started during a pyrotechnics display by the band Gurizada Fandangueira, Band News reported.
Marcelo Moreira, the lieutenant's 73-year-old neighbor, told Jornal Do Brasil that Machado was admired widely: "That boy was the son that every father hopes for. He never got into trouble, didn't smoke, never went too far. He died a hero," he said.
Brazilian police have arrested four people in connection with the fire, including two club owners and two members of the band, CNN reported.
In Santa Maria, a college town of 260,000 people, funerals began earlier this week, according to the news outlet. On Monday, mourners gathered for a series of funeral processions and paid respects at coffins scattered in a gymnasium that sever as a makeshift morgue.
The city council declared an official mourning period of 30 days and has made psychologists and psychiatrists available to those mourning the loss of loved ones, Jornal De Brasil reported.