Brazil’s National Museum ablaze
The National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro found itself engulfed in flames on Sunday night, the fire started after the Museum was closed for the day and no one was injured, but the fire claimed more than 90% of the Museum’s collection, according to officials.
About 50 firefighters have been trying to contain the inferno since 7 pm local time, but found the hydrants outside the scene dry, forcing them to rely on a nearby lake for water, adding this to the fact that the Museum was housed in a 19th century wooden mansion which lacked an emergency sprinkler system due to financial neglect from lack of federal funding, the flames quickly expanded unopposed thorough the wood structure, destroying one of the largest anthropology and natural history collections in the Americas.
The Museum’s vice-director said that in June they had received a R$21.7 million (USD 5.3 million) for the renovation of its library, roof and, ironically, modern fire protection equipment. The money came from a financing plan with the state-run development bank BNDES, but was neglected financially by successive federal governments.
At the moment, the there’s no sure answer as to what caused the fire, but Brazil’s culture minister Sergio Leitao said that it was very likely the cause of either an electrical short-circuit or a homemade paper hot-air balloon landing on the roof, but the cause would not be known until an investigation was completed.
The next morning the citizens were sure to make their dissatisfaction known, after a crowd of angry protesters tried to enter the museum, and found themselves face to face with police officers in riot gear, later they formed an “embrace around the museum.