MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, September 24th 2018 - 09:57 UTC

Towering inferno in Sao Paulo: 24-storey building collapses after huge blaze

Wednesday, May 2nd 2018 - 08:08 UTC
Full article 39 comments
Firefighters work to extinguish the fire in a 24-storey building used by squatters that later collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the largest city in Latin America Firefighters work to extinguish the fire in a 24-storey building used by squatters that later collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the largest city in Latin America

A 24-storey building used by squatters in the center of Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, collapsed early Tuesday after a blaze that tore through the structure, leaving at least three missing. Survivors described waking in the night to find themselves surrounded by flames and escaping with their children before the tower turned to rubble.

Scores of homeless families were occupying the building, according to officials. However, despite the ferocity of the blaze, only one person was listed as almost certainly dead.

“There are some missing, approximately three, with one very likely a fatality,” Ricardo Peixoto, a firefighters' commander, reported. “We don't know how many people were in the building so we don't know whether we'll find more victims in the ruins.”

So far, 250 people who'd been living in the building have been registered after the blaze, city security official Jose Roberto said. The fire began overnight and spread rapidly, turning the building into an inferno before it fell down.

Dramatic pictures tweeted by the fire service showed flames shooting up the sides of the whole tower, moments before it was reduced to a heap of smoking ruins. An adjacent church was also damaged. Fifty-seven vehicles and 160 firefighters were deployed to the scene, the department said.

Sao Paulo is Brazil's financial capital and the most populous city in Latin America, but suffers huge economic inequality. Poor families often squat in disused buildings or set up tents and shacks on vacant land, sometimes next to wealthy areas.

Sao Paulo state Governor Marcio Franca said “it was a tragedy waiting to happen.... This building didn't have even the minimum conditions for habitation. The state should not have allowed it to be occupied.”
 

Categories: Brazil.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Jack Bauer

    With this tragedy, the lid has been blown off a disgusting mafia. As suspected, but no one talked about, for fear of reprisals, it has finally come out that ALL the several social movements , ostensibly 'fighting for homes for the homeless', are simply criminal organizations exploiting the poor. Small groups of people in relatively comfortable social positions, go around searching for buildings that can be 'invaded', then they organize the 'peaceful' invasion, distributing the space according to each familiy's needs, What no one ever mentioned, is the fact that they charge fees (rent) varying from $ 200 to $400 per month...if the 'tenants' don't pay or delay paying, they are kicked out by the leaders of the movement, who are bringing in, according to preliminary calculations, about R$ 5 million /month, of which not 1 cent reverts to improvements in the invaded buildings. Dozens of survivors of the collapsed building finally decided to tell their stories. It is no more than a criminal and highly-politicized activity...proof of this is the fact that the PSOL presidential candidate, Guilherme Boulos (from upper-middle class), is the leader of the umbrella organization, MTST...and as to be expected, not one of the leaders of these movements (some already photograhed in expensive cars) were found to comment....
    Is that the kind of sh*t , that the lefties want as president ?
    Another interesting fact : Boulos is one of Lula's great friends, hopes to step into Lula's shoes, and was standing beside Lula during the pathetic show that the PT and the Metal workers' union put on one day before Lula was jailed.

    May 03rd, 2018 - 06:49 pm 0
  • :o))

    @JB:

    TRUE!

    REF: “the lid has been blown off a disgusting mafia”:

    I'd add - “TEMPORARILY”!

    May 04th, 2018 - 10:28 am 0
  • DemonTree

    Wow, seriously? Where did you see that?

    May 04th, 2018 - 05:27 pm 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!