On Tuesday, a 22-story building became engulfed in flames and collapsed in Brazil, Reuters reports. One person is dead and three others are unaccounted for, a fire department spokesperson said.
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The Sao Paulo office structure, which belonged to the government, was home to some 400 squatters. The Edificio Wilton Paes de Almeida, was built in 1966 but had been abandoned since 2002, the fire department stated. More than 50 families called it home.
Estadão newspaper reported that the materials used to modify the office spaces into dormitories was made of wood.
"The lifts had been taken out and those empty air shafts formed a chimney. There was also a lot of combustible material, such as wood and paper which helped fuel the fire," Capt. Marcos Palumbo of the São Paulo fire brigade explained.
Governor Márcio França added that the building was an accident waiting to happen. "That type of home is uninhabitable, staying there is looking for trouble," he said.
A second building caught fire but was evacuated with no injured parties reported.
The deceased, a man, was clinging to a rescue rope before he reportedly fell before he could be rescued, the fire department said.
The cause of the fire is not known.
A branch of Brazil’s federal police was once housed in the building.
Last year, dozens of homes were destroyed by a fire in a favela in the city.