Published 2:16 p.m. UTC Sep 3, 2018
RIO DE JANEIRO – A massive fire tore through a 200-year-old museum in Rio de Janeiro late Sunday, lighting up the night and sending large plumes of smoke into the air.
Firefighters worked to put out the blaze at the esteemed National Museum in northern Rio, which houses artifacts from Egypt, Greco-Roman art and some of the first fossils found in Brazil.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the fire began.
News portal G1, citing the museum, reported that nobody was injured and the fire began after the museum had closed for the day. An email sent to the museum late Sunday was not immediately returned.
Sgt. Moises Torres from the state’s firefighting headquarters said firefighters got the call and were dispatched at 7:30 p.m. He said there was no immediate information about injuries.
In a statement, President Michel Temer said it was “a sad day for all Brazilians.”
“Two hundred years of work, investigation and knowledge have been lost,” said Temer.
According to the museum’s website, it has thousands of items related to the history of Brazil and other countries, and is part of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
According to the museum’s website, many of its collections came from members of Brazil’s royal family.