Thursday, January 26, 2023

Chile: 2 dead, 30 injured and houses affected by fire

VIÑA DEL MAR, Chile ( Associated Press) – Chilean officials, fire brigade and brigade members continued Friday afternoon to fight the sources of an active fire that destroyed residential areas of the tourist town of Viña del Mar, amid the possibility that They can be reactivated and adapt to weather conditions. The fire left an initial balance of two dead, 30 injured, and 130 homes destroyed, according to the most recent toll from officials.

President Gabriel Borić suspended all his activities planned for the day and decreed a state of emergency due to the devastation in place, allowing all resources to be mobilized to fight the fire and help the hundreds of victims. The President traveled to the area to lead the Emergency Committee and to be on the ground.

Addressing the victims, the President said, “You can be sure that we will not leave you alone.” Boric confirmed that efforts are focused on bringing the fire under complete control so that necessary assistance can be given to those affected afterwards.

Officers and brigade teams are working round the clock in hot areas, which may become active at sunset on top of hills and ravines, where strong wind conditions are expected as on the previous day, which will increase the spread of the flames. is in favor The fire still has active sources and officials intend to have it fully under control during Friday afternoon.

The fire started rapidly on Thursday afternoon and continued to grow throughout the night.

“We are here which was my home. This is a place my father built 30, 40 years ago, next door was my brother, his house was burnt down, here is my house which was destroyed, behind was my father’s house. I couldn’t get the car out,” Luis Cañas, a sales executive in the affected area, told The Associated Press. “The important thing is that my wife and my children are okay” and that his grandfather and some neighbors’ houses were also saved, ” That made me very happy.”

“The fire started in an area not far from here, I was at work and I had come earlier. I saw my house standing, my father’s and my brother’s, I poured water everywhere but in the end it was not going to help at all,” he said.

Then came the evacuation alert from the authorities, and Kainas, with the help of neighbors, helped his wife, who is on crutches, his pregnant daughter and later their teenage children to leave the place.

“We have to start again, somehow”, he affirmed with resignation, like many residents of the region who are accustomed to this type of disaster.

Firefighters from the center of the country were on the move to help contain the blaze, which saw strong winds, humid conditions and high temperatures overnight in Chile in December. The flames and raging tongues of night gave way to morning with the light of a desolate landscape, a sea of ​​iron, dry branches, bent roofs and tangled junk in the many town and city skyscrapers of humble origins, which are entirely were destroyed. The residents of the locality have started the work of removing the debris.

Officials estimate that 200 to 500 homes have been affected by the fire and are currently working to identify the infrastructure and number of people affected. Home Minister Carolina Toha said drones would be used to assess the damage, investigate the cause of the fire and monitor the situation on the site.

The investigation team for crimes against the environment of the Chilean PDI (Investigation Police) started working to determine the point of origin of the fire, without ruling out any hypothesis.

Borik declared, “If that’s the intention, we’re going to move heaven, sea, and earth to find the culprits.”

The fire reportedly started in forested areas of native forests in the upper part of the city, within minutes, affecting irregular settlements in ravines and hilltops where houses made of lighter materials catch fire faster and According to officials, in hilly areas where garbage accumulates.

From there it rapidly spread to other areas of the spa town, which at this time received a floating population that moved to the sea from the capital Santiago and other parts of the country.

Nation World News Desk
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