Blazing building collapses in Sao Paulo; 1 dead, 3 missing

02 May, 2018, 01:04 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Blazing skyscraper collapses in Sao Paulo

A burning multi-storey house collapsed in the center of the Brazilian metropolis of Sao Paulo. More than 170 firefighters are at the scene, along with a civil defence response team and the army.

Firefighters evacuated the high-rise but as they were taking out the last of the residents, the building collapsed, killing the man. That blaze was brought under control relatively quickly, São Paulo Fire Brigade Lieutenant André Elias told Globo TV.

Local media outlets reported that the building was formally a headquarters for the federal police but had been abandoned for many years and was frequently occupied by squatters.

Debris could be seen smashing into the ground and occupying surrounding streets.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.

The blaze is understood to have started on the third floor and then spread rapidly to the levels above. Authorities said he likely died, but were searching for him.

The city and state governments have been working for years to forcibly remove squatters from buildings in central Sao Paulo, with plans for revitalising the area.

An adjacent building also caught fire, but was evacuated and no one was injured.

Sao Paulo state Governor Marcio Franca told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper that it was legally hard to remove squatters.

São Paulo Governor Márcio França said the building was an accident waiting to happen but that its residents had resisted leaving.

She admitted knowing that the building offered serious safety risks but said her family had nowhere else to go, "I was afraid but I could not live anywhere else".



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