Thursday July 2nd, 2020 7:06PM

Firefighters try to save relics as fire engulfs Rio museum

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A huge fire engulfed Brazil's 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, lighting up the night sky with towering flames as firefighters and museum workers raced to save historical relics from the blaze.

The esteemed museum, which houses artifacts from Egypt, Greco-Roman art and some of the first fossils found in Brazil, was closed to the public at the time of the fire, which broke out at 7:30 p.m. Sunday local time, it said in a statement.

There were no reports of injuries, the museum said, and it wasn't immediately clear how the fire began.

Roberto Robadey, a spokesman for the fire department, said 80 firefighters were battling the blaze and that by midnight local time it was "just about under control" and should be out within a few hours.

President Michel Temer called it "a sad day for all Brazilians."

"Two hundred years of work, investigation and knowledge have been lost," Temer said in a statement.

According to its website, the museum has a vast collection related to the history of Brazil and other countries, and that many of its collections came from members of Brazil's royal family.

Robadey said firefighters got off to a slow start fighting the blaze because the two fire hydrants closest to the museum were not functioning. Instead, trucks had to be sent to get water from a nearby lake.

But he added that some of the museum's pieces had been spared.

"We were able to remove a lot of things from inside with the help of workers of the museum," Robadey told Globo News.

Connected to the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the museum has expositions that include anthropology, archaeology and paleontology, among others.

The vice director of the museum, Luiz Fernando Dias Duarte, told Globo news the museum suffered chronic underfunding.

"Everybody wants to be supportive now. We never had adequate support," he said.

Latin America's largest nation has struggled to emerge from its worst recession in decades. The state of Rio de Janeiro has been particularly hard hit in recent years thanks to a combination of falling world prices of oil, one of its major revenue sources, mismanagement and massive corruption.

Just over a month before national elections, even before the flames were put out, the fire was leading to recriminations about dilapidated infrastructure and budget deficits in the city that hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics.

"Unfortunately, given the financial straits of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and all the other public universities the last three years, this was a tragedy that could be seen coming," Marina Silva, one of the leading presidential candidates, tweeted.

On Instagram, Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella called on the country to rebuild.

"It's a national obligation to reconstruct it from the ashes, recompose every eternal detail of the paintings and photos. Even if they are not original, they continue to be a reminder of the royal family that gave us independence, the (Portuguese) empire and the first constitution and national unity," he said.

____

Associated Press video journalist Yesica Fisch contributed to this report from Rio. AP reporter Mauricio Savarese contributed from Recife, Brazil.

___

National Museum website: http://www.museunacional.ufrj.br/

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Congress must consider Kavanaugh nomination, pay the bills
Top priorities: Congress must consider Kavanaugh nomination, pay the bills
12:24AM ( 7 minutes ago )
GOP insider draws criticism for role in Kavanaugh documents
A GOP insider, lawyer Bill Burck draws criticism for his role in culling documents from Kavanaugh's White House years
12:22AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Elderly Peru couple buries son decades after disappearance
Authorities in Peru have returned to an octogenarian couple the skeletal remains of their son more than three decades after he was disappeared by armed forces during the darkest days of the Andean nation's fight with Maoist rebels
12:21AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Firefighters battle massive blaze at 200-year-old Rio museum
Firefighters are working to put out a large fire at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro
11:38PM ( 54 minutes ago )
McCain buried at Naval Academy alongside a longtime friend
A horse-drawn caisson carrying his casket, McCain buried Sunday at Naval Academy alongside a longtime friend
11:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
2018's most volatile candidate (it's Trump) isn't on ballot
Trump loves to take his freewheeling political stylings on the road on behalf of his fellow Republicans and he's raring for the sprint to Nov. 6
10:54PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
O'Rourke bets national attention lifts him in Texas race
If Senate seats were decided by viral videos and fawning media profiles, Democrat Beto O'Rourke would win in a landslide
9:49PM ( 2 hours ago )
Firefighters battle massive blaze at esteemed Rio museum
Firefighters are working to put out a large fire at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro
9:37PM ( 2 hours ago )
As MeToo unnerves China, a student fights to tell her story
A woman's challenges in trying to report sexual assault allegations show the determination of a new generation trying to push China into its own #MeToo movement
9:26PM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Duterte in Israel for first visit by a Philippines president
Rodrigo Duterte received a warm welcome on his arrival for the first-ever visit by a Philippine president to Israel since the countries established diplomatic relations in 1957
9:43PM ( 2 hours ago )
Asian Games stir Indonesia's pride, boost Jokowi's campaign
Indonesia's success in hosting and competing at the Asian Games has swelled national pride, boosted the re-election campaign of President Joko Widodo, and positively highlighted diversity in the Muslim-majority nation
8:36PM ( 3 hours ago )
Vatican begins push-back against ex-ambassador over Davis
Vatican ex-spokesman pushes back against Vigano over Kim Davis
5:57PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP World News
Asian shares dip amid growing worry over US-Canada trade
Asian shares are mostly lower amid worries about escalating trade friction between the U.S. and Canada
12:28AM ( 4 minutes ago )
Congress must consider Kavanaugh nomination, pay the bills
Top priorities: Congress must consider Kavanaugh nomination, pay the bills
12:24AM ( 8 minutes ago )
GOP insider draws criticism for role in Kavanaugh documents
A GOP insider, lawyer Bill Burck draws criticism for his role in culling documents from Kavanaugh's White House years
12:22AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Elderly Peru couple buries son decades after disappearance
Authorities in Peru have returned to an octogenarian couple the skeletal remains of their son more than three decades after he was disappeared by armed forces during the darkest days of the Andean nation's fight with Maoist rebels
12:21AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke shakes up Senate race with Cruz
Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke shakes up Senate race with Cruz
12:12AM ( 20 minutes ago )