RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil—Rio de Janeiro’s world-famed Carnival went up in flames for thousands of people who spent nearly a year preparing for the spectacular event.
Seamstresses, set designers and musicians watched in tears as firefighters struggled to control a blaze that raged through warehouses holding many of the elaborate costumes and floats they had assembled for this year’s samba parade.
With just a month left before the March 6 start of the competition, there is no way to fully replace them.
Three hours after the fire, 120 firefighters had controlled the flames that appeared to have severely damaged warehouses belonging to three of the samba organizations that compete in the two-day parade, as well as Independent League of Samba Groups that organizes the event, according to Dimas de Almeida Neto, spokesman for Rio’s fire department.
The cause was being investigated, he said.
Even before the flames were out, it was clear that four of the four-story warehouses were extensively damaged, with two of them collapsing internally, according to firefighters. Ten warehouses were not affected by the flames.
This year’s show was a $5.5 million investment and nearly 7,000 people worked for about eight months to pull it all together.