The official death toll in the San Paulo, Brazil, office-block fire was put at 16 on Friday (February 25) when this film was shot--although unofficial estimates went as high as 80 dead.
The official death toll in the San Paulo, Brazil, office-block fire was put at 16 on Friday (February 25) when this film was shot--although unofficial estimates went as high as 80 dead. Firemen and rescue workers spent the day retrieving bodies--some charred beyond recognition--while the gutted block, from which four hundred were snatched to safety by helicopters, still smouldered. The fire began on Thursday afternoon (February 24) when an estimated 1,500 people were in the building, which housed offices and shops. Hundreds of people were rescued by firemen using ladders.
SYNOPSIS: San Paulo, Brazil...and the tragic aftermath of the office-block fire in which at least sixteen people died, according to the official death toll on Friday. Unofficial estimates, however, put the toll as high as eighty.
The fire began on Thursday afternoon when an estimated one-thousand-five-hundred people were in the building--which housed offices and shops. More than four hundred people were snatched to safety by helicopter from the roof, where they had fled. Several hundred more were rescued by fireman. Those who died were either burnt alive, suffocated or killed in panic-stricken jumps to the ground below. One fireman said he had seen eight bodies in the gutted twenty-six storey building, and crowds gathered round anxiously seeking news of relatives. Fireman had not reached the blaze until forty-five minutes after it started--because they were held up in traffic jams.
About four hundred people were treated in hospital, including three who only suffered concussion after leaping from the seventh floor. On Friday, while police and firemen searched for clues about the fire's origin, smoke was still pouring from the gutted shell. The flames, fuelled by exploding gas cannisters, destroyed all but the top few stories of the building within an hour and a half. The building's architect, however, said the skeleton was in no danger of collapsing--and could be re-constructed.