Published: Mon, September 03, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Raging fire tears through prized Rio museum

Raging fire tears through prized Rio museum

Brazil's oldest museum went up in flames Sunday night, with most of its 20 million artifacts believed to be destroyed, as per The Guardian.

It was not yet known what caused the fire, which started after the museum closed on Sunday.

Television footage showed the building engulfed by a raging blaze that firefighters have still not brought under control.

The National Museum of Brazil houses more than 20 million items, ranging from archaeological findings to historical memorabilia.

Brazilian President Michel Temer called the damage an "incalculable" loss for the country. "Two hundred years of work research and knowledge were lost".

Asked by a reporter why such a disaster doesn't happen at cultural institutions in other countries, Kellner, the museum director, replied: "Ask yourself that".

The National Museum stands gutted after the overnight fire in Rio de Janeiro.

A police officer shines a light at rescued items during a fire at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The fire "spread very quickly; there is a lot of inflammable material", a spokesperson for Rio's fire department told AFP, adding that there were no reports of victims so far.

"This fire is what Brazilian politicians are doing to the people", said Rosana Hollanda, a 35-year-old high school teacher.

The staff had just gone through fire training and arranged for flammable items, such as animals kept in bottles with alcohol and formaldehyde, to be removed from the building. Instead, trucks had to be sent to get water from a nearby lake.

According to the BBC, no injuries have been reported as firefighters continue to battle the blaze at the building, which once served as a residence for the Portuguese royal family.

The museum has suffered underfunding for years that prevented renovations and forced it to close exhibits. It housed several landmark collections, including Egyptian artifacts and the oldest human fossil found in Brazil. Firefighters have been on the scene for hours trying to extinguish the flames before they reach an area of the museum that contains flammable chemicals.

One of the museum's prized possessions was "Luzia" - the skull and bones of a 25-year-old woman dating back 11,000 years ago.

One of the casualties of the fire that destroyed #Brazil's National Museum in #Rio is the massive Bendegó meteorite.

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