May 27th, 2024

Fire at small hotel in southern Brazil kills at least 10 people

By The Associated Press on April 26, 2024.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – A fire tore through a small hotel in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre early Friday, killing at least 10 people and injuring 11, authorities said.

The fire broke out in the early hours in the three-story building, which provided affordable housing for single people but which lacked proper licensing and lacked an emergency fire plan, the fire brigade of the Rio Grande do Sul state said on social media.

A witness told local media that he managed to leave his room at around 2 a.m. after the fire broke out, dashing through smoke as flames approached.

“I only had time to put on my flip-flops and run. My sister, who lived on the third floor, ended up being burned to death,” 56-year-old Marcelo Wagner Schelech told daily newspaper Zero Hora.

Nine of the 11 people rescued were hospitalized, five of them in critical condition, local authorities said. Porto Alegre Mayor Sebastião Melo said on his social media accounts that he was following the investigations into the fire closely.

Known as Garoa Floresta, the hotel is part of the Garoa group, a chain that has at least 10 small hotels in Porto Alegre. In 2022, a fire broke out in another one of the hotels, killing one person and injuring 11.

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