Voracious fire generates panic in Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Firemen fighting against fire.
Image: Leandro Kibisz.

Firemen were working to control a large fire in a party supply warehouse in the populous neighborhood of Once in the Argentine capital.

The fire began in the fourth floor at approximately 15:15 hours and rapidly spread to the rest of the building, located on 2257 Lavalle street between Pasteur and Uriburu streets. The building houses a wholesale company called "Ciudad Cotillón" (Party City), which sells highly flammable elements like foam, carnival outfits, and products made with polystyrene.

According to the firemen of the Federal Police, there exists a "real danger" of precipice of the damaged building, for which the Guard of Aid and SAME ambulances remain in the area.

Nearby buildings were evacuated and the traffic was closed in the Larrea and Lavalle streets, from Tucumán up to Uriburu, producing chaos in the traffic.

The fire's toxic smoke and smell expanded towards the northern zone of the city. More than 50 people were injured after inhaling the smoke. A cameraman of the Telefé suffered poisoning and was taken to the Ramos Mejía hospital.

One of the firemen who was attacking the fire fell to the street below and suffered multiple injuries. He was moved with urgency to an hospital.

The hospitals of the city were declared to be in a state of red alert, to be able to attend to those affected by the inhalation of toxic gases.

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