Tower block collapses in São Paulo after fire


A high rise building occupied by squatters in Brazil's most populous city caught fire and collapsed Tuesday, sending chunks of fiery debris crashing into neighboring buildings and surrounding streets.

Then squatters moved in; an Associated Press investigation a year ago found about 350 families living there.

The fire, which is now under control, began at around 1:30am local time, a Sao Paulo Fire Department spokesman said.

The high-rise had been occupied by squatters, and firefighters fear more people may have been trapped inside.

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An adjacent building also caught fire, but was evacuated and no one was injured.

"When people told me there was a fire, I woke up the children and ran", she said. Authorities said he likely died, but were searching for him. Media reports differ on the actual number of residents of the building, the number of which could have been up to 100 people, others say up to 50 families were registered to live. "I could not take anything with me". The hotel receptionist told Folha newspaper that he was alerted to the blaze by shouting.

"There is not even a minimal condition for people to live in there", França said.

The fire started at 01:20 local time with the flames spreading quickly.

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The city of Sao Paulo is Brazil's most populous, and it is among the world's most populous cities.

"That type of home is uninhabitable, staying there is looking for trouble", he said speaking at the site of the blaze.

Firefighters evacuated the building and contained the fire with no victims or risk of collapse.

The building collapsed as firefighters worked to put out the flames.

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