Firefighters try to save relics as fire engulfs Rio museum
03 September, 2018, 23:00 | Author: Ted Wilson
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 museum, located in the city's north near the Maracana soccer stadium, was closed to the public when the fire sparked from a yet unknown cause.
Duarte blamed the government, led by president Michel Temer - who has watched over cuts to science and education - for failing to support the museum and letting it fall into disrepair.
"Today, is a tragic day for the museology of our country, two hundred years of work, research and knowledge were lost".
Museum deputy director Luiz Fernando Dias told GloboNews the compound had been utterly destroyed.
The natural history and anthropology museum was founded in 1818 by King Joao VI and is considered a jewel of Brazilian culture, housing more than 20 million valuable pieces.
Priceless artifacts spanning 11,000 years went up in flames as an inferno swallowed Brazil's National Museum Sunday.
They told local news outlets that firefighters had difficulty blasting water into the burning building, which is fully ablaze. No injuries have been reported yet and firefighting operations are under way.
He added: "The value of our history can not be measured by the damage to the building".
Kellner said there were fire extinguishers on the site, but it was not clear if there were sprinklers, which are problematic for museums because water can damage objects.
Ricardo Moraes / Reuters The National Mueseum recently celebrated its 200-year anniversary.
The museum's collections include items such as Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts, fossils, dinosaurs, and a meteorite found in 1784. "Collections that are over 100 years old", Cristiana Serejo, one of the museum's vice-directors, told Brazil's G1 news.
He also said the museum had been guaranteed about $5 million from the Brazilian government's development bank, with some money allocated for fire prevention. "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.
"This fire is what Brazilian politicians are doing to the people", said Rosana Hollanda, a 35-year-old high school teacher.
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