At least 181 people died when fire gutted skyscraper in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday (1 February).
At least 181 people died when fire gutted skyscraper in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday (1 February). The death toll jumped dramatically when firemen who were searching through the debris of the burnt out building, found 97 bodies mostly huddled in washrooms on the top floors.
Even so the death toll cold be even higher, as one more floor of the 21 storey building still had to be searched.
One eye-witness said he saw 11 people jump to their deaths as flames engulfed them, Other survivors told how a young couple leaped from an office window embraced on each others arms.
In one of the flats inthe building, a family of six died in the fire. About 90 men and women managed to climb to the roof, where they ran from side to side to escape the clouds of smoke billowing form below. They waved to helicopters hovering above to lift them off.
Firemen whose ladders were too short to reach victims trapped on window ledges, had to swing on ropes to cover the last few years. The pilot of an Ari Force helicopter who landed his craft on the roof, said the heat was os intense that it peeled the paint off his machine.
A porter in the skyscraper said he saw people trampled to death on the staircases. People were tearing off their clothes as they stampeded in a mad rush to get down. On the eleventh floor he saw people run through a barrier of fire with their hair and clothing alight. Others stood where they were petrified until the flames swallowed them up.