Uncontrolled fire decimates homes in slum (VIDEO)
A fire has swept through a poor neighborhood in the city of Iquique, in the north of Chile. Some 300 people were affected by the blaze, according to local news, but there were no reports of fatalities or injuries.
On Monday, a fire devastated a neighborhood in Iquique, northern Chile. More than 100 wooden houses have been destroyed, leaving its residents, many of whom are illegal migrants, without a home.
Black smoke could be seen rising from the slum, called Laguna Verde, which is situated on the slopes of a hill.
Television footage showed residents getting dangerously close to the blaze, reportedly in an effort to salvage possessions from the fire.
ALERT 🚨 At least 15 people were injured after a fire burned more than 40 homes in a settlement in the Laguna Verde sector of Iquique, Chile. pic.twitter.com/DvSsvM5vM1— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) January 10, 2022
Una tragedia lo están viviendo las familias afectadas por el incendio en Iquique. Los campamentos se han vuelto una trampa mortal y es urgente que se regularice la situación de las personas que necesitan una solución habitacional. ¡Fuerza #Iquique y #bomberosdeChile! pic.twitter.com/2GPtriUNtl— Rojo Edwards Senador RM (@RojoEdwards) January 10, 2022
Alvaro Hormazábal, the director of the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of the Interior in the Tarapacá region, stated that the fire broke out after noon on Monday, but warned that there was no water to tackle the blaze.
“The closest tap is about 200 meters away,” he said.
According to local media, firefighters had to enter the neighborhood on foot as the streets were too narrow for the fire engines to pass through.
“Here we must not talk about houses made up of a property. In a few meters there may be 5, 10 or 15 families,” the mayor of Iquique, Mauricio Soria, said on Monday. He added that many of the residents were not Chilean and did not have documentation.
Initial reports suggested that 40 houses were destroyed, but the count was raised to over 100 on Tuesday.