Fire at São Paulo Museum Kills One and Damages Historic Building

It took 100 firefighters more than three hours to control the blaze.

On December 21, a fire erupted inside the Museum of the Portuguese Language in São Paulo, Brazil, killing one. The International Business Times reports that the cause of the fire is unknown, but that it broke out in a temporary exhibition area on the first floor and quickly made its way to the third floor. Museum curators said that no precious objects were compromised in the blaze.

“The virtual collection that was the hallmark of the Portuguese Language Museum may be entirely reconstructed from our backups and archives. In the temporary exhibition in honor of Cascudo there was no original parts, only replicas and museographic elements,” the institution said in a statement.

The museum, which opened in 2006, is housed inside the historic Light Station, which was built in 1901 by prominent British architect Charles Henry Driver. The building reportedly suffered moderate to extensive damage. Governor Geraldo Alckmin has already begun the process of appealing for private funds to rebuild the institution, which features interactive exhibitions that allow visitors to track the evolution of the Portuguese language. Since its opening just nine years ago, it has quickly become one of the most visited museums in Latin America.

The historic Light Station. Photo: WIkipedia.

The historic Light Station.
Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia.

“The Portuguese Language Museum is really significant in Brazil and to the city of São Paulo as well as internationally, ” Alckmin said in a statement. “We can say with absolutely conviction that the firefighters expressed love and solidarity with the people of São Paulo and of Brazil for the museum, because the it translates the soul of the Brazilian people.”

It took 100 firefighters more than three hours to control the blaze, reports French news outlet France24. One firefighter, who was badly burned, died later that evening in a local hospital.

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