By Gregory Scruggs, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – An explosion destroyed a restaurant on Thursday morning in downtown Rio, likely because of a gas leak. The building that houses Filet Carioca, which faces the recently renovated Praça Tiradentes, was completely destroyed in the blast, which left three dead and at least seventeen injured. The three victims were identified as Mateus Maia Macedo de Andrade, 19, Severino Antônio, 45, and the sushi chef, Josimar dos Santos Barros.

An explosion in the Filet Carioca restaurant on Praça Tiradentes in Centro left three dead
An explosion in the Filet Carioca restaurant on Praça Tiradentes in Centro left three dead and at least 17 injured, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, News

Coronel Sérgio Simões, General Commander of the Rio Firefighters, informed the media that the restaurant was not authorized to use the type of gas cylinders which were found in the wreckage. “It was the irresponsibility of whoever used this type of gas. It’s prohibited to use bottled gas in these kinds of establishments,” he said.

The owner of the restaurant was at a local hospital at the time of writing, and will be questioned as soon as he can receive visitors. Antônio Ferreira Bonfim, the deputy delegate at the 5th District police department, said that there is a distinct possibility the owner will be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Nearby resident Jorge Assis Rodrigues, 37, was heading to the restaurant when he stopped for a sandwich on the way, thereby averting the possibility he would have been inside Filet Carioca when the explosion happened. “It was God that saved me,” he later said.

The exact moment of the explosion was captured on surveillance video, the footage can be seen here.

Read more (in Portuguese)

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