World

A Massive Fire Destroys Brazil's 200-Year-Old National Museum

A Massive Fire Destroys Brazil's 200-Year-Old National Museum

A huge fire totally destroyed the 200-year-old museum in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday night.

The National Museum stands gutted after the overnight fire in Rio de Janeiro.

Roberto Robadey, a spokesman for the fire department, said firefighters got off to a slow start fighting the blaze because the two fire hydrants closest to the museum were not functioning.

In a statement, President Michel Temer said the loss of the museum and its contents was "a sad day for all Brazilians".

"Today, is a tragic day for the museology of our country, two hundred years of work, research and knowledge were lost".

Luiz Fernando Dias Duarte, a museum official, said Monday that anything held in the main building was probably destroyed, and Serejo told the G1 news portal that 90 percent of the collection may have been destroyed.

The 200-year-old building was constructed by the Portuguese king John VI and housed the Brazilian imperial family in 1822-89 before it was converted to a museum in 1889.

Late previous year, after a termite attack shuttered a room hosting the bones of the Maxakalisaurus dinosaur, the National Museum was forced to turn to a crowdfunding site to seek funds for reopening the exhibit. But the blaze ravaged the museum's massive archives and collections, numbering around 20 million items by some estimates. No injuries have been reported yet and firefighting operations are under way. He also said that employees had recently received training from firefighters in how to minimize risks and respond to a fire if one should occur.

"Our community is very mobilised and very indignant", said Roberto Leher, the rector of the Rio de Janeiro federal university, which administers the museum. He told local media "This is 200 years of work of a scientific institution - the most important one in Latin America". The Rio Times said that the fire had consumed the entire structure, which is located in the city's Quinta da Boa Vista park. But the deputy director suggested that the damage could be catastrophic, with most objects in the main building probably lost, except for some meteorites.

"Just crying doesn't solve anything", Alexander Kellner, the museum's director, told reporters at the scene.

Both possibilities were being considered, Culture Ministry spokeswoman Roberta de Oliveira Ribeiro said in an email, but the cause would not be known until an investigation was completed. The museum, which held some of the largest collections of natural history and anthropology, was almost destroyed by a fire on Sunday. "History can not be measured by the damage to the building that housed the royal family".

"The loss of the National Museum's collection is insurmountable for Brazil". Among them - the oldest found in Brazil human remains and artifacts from Ancient Egypt.

ICOM added that it is "in solidarity with the Brazilian Committee in this disaster, and is offering to provide its utmost support for the revival of this museum in affirmation of global solidarity".


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