By Esmee Verbeek, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Three floors of the Swissair building on 99 Avenida Rio Branco, Centro, have been ravaged by a fire Sunday morning. The 14th and 15th floors belonged to the Garcia and Keneer Law Offices, the 16th floor was reportedly vacant, and fortunately no one was injured during the blaze.
Fierce flames started around 6:30AM on Sunday morning. Due to inadequate fire prevention system in the building, according to the firemen, it was impossible to use the water of the building to extinguish the fire.
It took thirty firemen of the Humaitá, São Cristóvão and Centro more then four hours to quench the flames. The fire started from a yet unknown cause.
Colonel André Melo, of the Operational Group of the Central Firefighters described: “Engineers of the City Hall will inspect the site to see if their was some damage to the structure of the building and electrical work.”
In the aftermath, pieces of plaster continued to fall off the facade of the building, which fell to the pavement and half of the road. Also, an air-conditioning fell on a newsstand.
For both reasons Avenida Rio Branco, in between Rua do Rosário and Avenida Presidente Vargas, was closed during the day. The Rua Buenos Aires also got shut down between Rio Branco and Rua Primeiro de Março. CET-Rio informed that the roads were released around 1:30 AM, though two left lanes of Avenida Rio Branco remain inaccessible for traffic.
This is the another incident in Centro, after a recent building collapsed in Lapa, and a tragic collapse of three buildings in January. The later left seventeen dead and at least five still missing. Investigations into the causes of both accidents are still underway, but reports indicate structural damage is most likely at fault.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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