World News

Fire in São Paulo, Brazil, Brings Down a High-Rise

Posted May 1, 2018 12:18 p.m. EDT

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — A high-rise tower in São Paulo, Brazil, collapsed early Tuesday after a fire raged through the building and spread to another structure nearby. At least one person was believed to have died.

The collapsed building, which stretched more than 20 stories high, was a former federal police facility that was inhabited only intermittently by squatters, according to local officials and Brazilian news reports.

A person was trapped on an upper floor and was calling for help when the building collapsed, and it is very likely that the person was killed, said a spokesman for the São Paulo Fire Department. Two other people were considered missing, he said, after interviews with people who had occupied the building irregularly.

No bodies have been recovered from the ruins. The São Paulo newspaper Estadão reported that one firefighter was injured.

By sunrise, the blaze had been contained, but parts of the wreckage were still burning.

Firefighters said the blaze began in the high rise around 1:30 a.m., and that 160 firefighters were on the scene. They said the fire had spread to a neighboring structure that had been evacuated, and that was not in danger of collapsing.

The newspaper Folha de São Paulo quoted local residents as saying that people had been trapped on top of the burning building.

Officials offered no word on a possible cause for the fire.

Video shot from a nearby structure showed flames spitting from the lower and middle floors before a sudden collapse.