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At least 230 people died tragically early Sunday morning after fire spread throughout a nightclub in Porto Alegre.

Witnesses say the blaze was likely started by a firework or flare lit by band members, as dead bodies blocked the club’s single exit and young men at the local university helped firefighters on the scene rescue the living via axes and sledgehammers.

“There was so much smoke and fire, it was complete panic, and it took a long time for people to get out, there were so many dead,” survivor Luana Santos Silva told the Globo TV network.

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Over 115 people were treated at hospitals following the incident, which is considered the world’s deadliest nightclub fire in a decade.

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff cut short her trip to a Latin American-European summit in Chile and arrived as quickly as she could at the scene, telling reporters:

“It is a tragedy for all of us.”