The process of identifying victims of Sao Paulo's worst fire ever continues. The death toll?
The process of identifying victims of Sao Paulo's worst fire ever continues. The death toll of Friday's blaze (1 February) is now provisionally put at 227, but the final figure might never be known because so many bodies were reduced to ashes. The state mortuary has received 197 bodies while hospitals around the Brazilian industrial centre, report they have a further 30 corpses awaiting transport to the mortuary. There have been no mass funerals, each family has had to claim their dead, and have held private funerals.
Already the city's fire chief has been dismissed for criticising city authorities for a "lack of interest" in anti-fire measures, adding Sao Paulo, with a population of eight million had only 1,300 firemen when 8,000 were needed to cope with the situation adequately. Police arson inspectors have been combing the charred building, searching for clues to discover what started the fire and caused it to spread from the 12th to 20th floor in minutes. The skyscraper's architects and builders appeared to establish whether there was any negligence in the construction or design of the 21-storey block. The inquiry opened amid a growing controversy as to why there was no emergency fire escapes in the building.