Building in Sao Paulo collapses in fire; at least 1 dead

Frederick Owens
May 2, 2018

In the city of são Paulo in Brazil as a result of fire struck the 26-storey residential building.

Footage shows the building crumbling to the ground after it exploded in a huge ball of fire and smoke.

Around 160 firefighters and 57 vehicles responded to the fire on Largo do Paissandu, a street in the downtown area of Brazil's largest city.

The building was formally a headquarters for federal police but had been abandoned for many years and had been occupied by squatters, according to local media. However, so far only one person was reported dead, local media reported.

The fire passed on to the neighboring building, but there is no threat of its collapse. 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".

Romulo de Souza, 49, who said he was part of a squatter occupation in the neighbouring building, claimed that when the fire began on the fourth floor, families began evacuating.

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"Happily the majority got out", he said.

"When people told me there was a fire, I woke up the children and ran", she said. "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".

At least one person died and three others were missing, authorities said.

Officials say it will take days to clear the debris.

Tuesday's fiery collapse was expected to put a spotlight on housing problems in São Paulo, where several dozen dwellings have been occupied by fair-housing groups that take over and then fight for ownership. "I had to come, despite these protests, because I was in Sao Paulo, and it would have looked bad if I didn't", he told journalists.

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