At 17th of December of 1961, hundreds of families in Rio de Janeiro´s state municipality Niterói where looking forward a visit to the “Gran Circus Norte - Americano“, an attraction which was established at Niteroi for a couple of days. But what should be a Sunday afternoon diversion turned out to be one of the biggest fires in history in terms of fatal victims. The canvas catched fire and burned down within a few minutes, burying a wide part of the 2500 visitors below. The injured were brought to Antônio Pedro Hospital in Niterói. Doctors, nurses and plastic surgeons hurried to help as quickly as they could; this was the beginning of restoring plastic surgery in Brazil. After a week, the number of fatal victims reached 400, if there hadn´t been the elephants panicking and breaking through the canvas, much more people would have died.
Officials declared that it was fire-raising, finally, three men were arrested, but the true reason was never discovered.