High-rise building in Brazil collapses during fire

Blazing skyscraper collapses in Sao Paulo

Blazing skyscraper collapses in Sao Paulo

A 26-storey building collapsed after being engulfed in flames in Brazil's largest city, São Paulo, killing at least one person.

It is not clear how many people were in the building at the time but 50 families are registered as living there, according to local media.

Witnesses say flames spread quickly from one of the lower floors and set an adjacent building on fire.

A twenty-four story high-rise burned and collapsed during the early morning of May 1st, in the center of São Paulo city, leaving at least one dead and dozens of families homeless.

"Happily the majority got out", he said, adding that residents believed the fire could have been started by a gas leak.

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.

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A neighbouring building was evacuated, shortly before it caught fire. TV images showed the person clinging to the building's side, while apparently also attached to a rope that the firefighter was holding.

The governor said it was legally hard to force people to evacuate the old and decaying buildings. Hours after the building went down there was smoldering debris and smoke rising from the destruction.

Search and rescue operations could take days. "People think that people who live in an occupation are animals".

During a brief visit to the area Tuesday, President Michel Temer told reporters that the government would help those affected by the fire. The cause of such a dramatic reduction may be because former Sao Paulo Mayor Joao Doria cracked down on squatter communities downtown in a bid to revitalize the area.

The city of Sao Paulo is Brazil's most populous, and it is among the world's most populous cities. "I patted the mattresses, saw no one was at home anymore, then I went down behind them shouting their names to see if they had gone down".

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