Helicopters plucked more than 400 people from the roof of a 26-storey office block in Sao Paolo on Thursday as fire raged through the building.
Helicopters plucked more than 400 people from the roof of a 26-storey office block in Sao Paolo on Thursday as fire raged through the building. Many others were rescued by firemen's ladders.
About 1,500 people and estimated to have been in the building at the time, and the death toll is unofficially put as high as 80. Firemen who fought their way into the building said many had died in a plane rush down the internal stairway. At least four jumped to their deaths from upper windows, but three who jumped from the seventh floor suffered only concussion.
On Friday, firemen were still searching for the dead in the gutted Pirani Building. It was the worst-ever fire disaster in Sao Paolo, Brazil's largest and fastest-growing city.
SYNOPSIS: Many people are believed to have died when fire swept through an office block in Sao Paolo, Brazil's biggest city, on Thursday. The 26-floor Pirani building has a department store at ground level with offices above. Fire broke out about mid-afternoon, and about fifteen hundred people are thought to have been in the building at the time.
Many survivors were rescued by ladder, but at least four people jumped to their death from upper windows. Firemen fought their way into the building to lead others to safety and bring out the injured, including many with server burns. But some reports put the death toll as high as 80.
The figure might have been much higher, if the roof of the building had not been designed as a heliport. As the building filled with smoke, many who were trapped inside made their way to the roof to wait for help. The first helicopter on the scene was forced away by the updraught of hot air, but eventually 20 military helicopters, working in relays, ferried four hundred people to safety. They were the lucky ones. Firemen said they saw many bodies inside the building.