Huge Inferno Rages Through Town Sending 100s Fleeing

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCEN

Video Credit: CEN

This is the moment a massive blaze rips through a border town hitting 50 percent of homes in under an hour and sending hundreds of residents fleeing for their lives.

The shocking incident took place in the municipality of Bella Vista, Bolivian department of Beni, near the border with Brazil and the scenes were reportedly recorded from the municipality of Costa Marques, in the western Brazilian state of Rondonia.

Preliminary information from the Brazilian Civil Protection suggests the fire started in a shop and spread quickly through the community, with Civil Protection delegate Reinaldo Rei said “half of the village burnt”.

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Pictures Credit: CEN

The local Secretary for Tourism and the Environment in Brazil. Cassiano Sidon, said preliminary information pointed to the fire having been started by the explosion of a generator in a shop. 

Sidon added: “After that explosion, it spread very quickly. In under an hour it had spread to over 50 percent of the homes.”

In the video, the fire can be seen burning from the Brazilian side of the Guapore River, with the huge flames lighting up the night sky.

Civil Protection delegate Rei said “there are people injured but we don’t know how many yet” and sources from the police told local media that medical teams from the Brazilian Army are attending the injured. The Brazilian Army, Bolivian Army and volunteers are reportedly working to control the fire.

Police sources from Brazil said at least three people had suffered burns in the fire while others had inhaled smoke or been injured by debris.

There have been no reports of deaths and the State Secretary of Environment and Sustainability (SEMAS), Senira Dantas, said that Bolivian citizens were being taken to the areas around Costa Marques and receiving treatment.

Reports state at least 20 homes and seven shops were destroyed in the fire, with police estimating 10 families lost everything in the blaze. There are believed to be around 30 to 40 families living in Bella Vista.

Local media outlet ‘Globo’ report that Civil Protection delegate Reinaldo Rei claimed the area where the fire started is used as a sales point for petrol, arms and drugs, but this is yet to be confirmed by the authorities. The exact number of people injured is not known.

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Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.

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