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Massive fire breaks out at 200-year-old Rio museum in Brazil

Images on Brazilian television showed how the fire, which is believed to have started after the facility had closed for the day, had spread throughout the building.

Reported by: IANS, New Delhi [ Published on: September 03, 2018 8:55 IST ]
Image Source : AP

Massive fire breaks out at museum in Brazil

A huge fire broke out at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Firefighters were tackling the blaze at the building, which is the oldest scientific institution in the country containing over 20 million items in its collection. The cause of the incident and information on any injuries or casualties is yet unknown. 

Brazil's President Michel Temer tweeted that it was a "sad day for all Brazilians", adding: "The value of our history cannot be measured by the damage to the building."

The museum, which once served as the residence for the Portuguese royal family, celebrated its 200-year anniversary earlier in 2018.

Images on Brazilian television showed how the fire, which is believed to have started after the facility had closed for the day, had spread throughout the building, the BBC said.

People reported on social media that the museum was completely consumed by the blaze. It housed mummies, meteorites, insects, and fossils among other things. 

In an interview with Brazil's TV Globo, the museum's director said it was a "cultural tragedy".

The museum houses thousands of items related to the history of Brazil and other countries including Egyptian artefacts, according to its website.

Its natural history collection includes important dinosaur bones and a 12,000-year-old human skeleton of a woman -- the oldest ever found in the Americas.

Employees had reportedly previously expressed concern about funding cuts and the dilapidated state of the building.

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