Figherfighters in action
Burning building

There was big news in Buenos Aires today - a fire started in a building in barrio Once, forcing the closure of several blocks of streets as over 80 firefighters struggled to control the blaze.

Hospitals in the area were put on alert to cope with an influx of patients inhaling the toxic smoke from the incendio.

Lots of smoke

The fire started at around 3pm on the fifth floor of a building on calle Lavalle 2257 and it quickly spread as some of the floors were used to store aerosol cans, carnival costumes and other products made from flamable substances.

I happened to be staying in Once this week and for me the first sign of something going on was the persistant sound of a helicopter hovering nearby. Later we got a phone call from a friend asking if everything was ok since they'd seen on the news that there was a large fire only a block or two away.

Sure enough, once I walked out of the building it was clear there was a fire as thick plumes of smoke were blowing out of a building further down our street. Police had closed off the area at the end of our block so I walked around to the intersection of calles Lavalle and Uriburu for a better look.

Things were fairly tense for many of Once's residents as there was a large blast in the amia here last decade, causing the death of many people. This fire though would appear to be completely unconnected.

Camión de Bomberos

It's about midnight as I'm writing this and the reports on the TV show that the fire is still ablaze and firefighters are expecting to be up for much of the night trying to get it under control. Due to the mixture of chemicals in the building they're pretty much limited to using water to fight the blaze.

Reporters also advise everyone living within a kilometre or so of the fire to keep their windows closed tonight as any change of wind could blow toxic fumes into their apartments.

Firefighters have also warned that there's a risk of some of the building falling onto the nearby street so expect the area to be closed off for quite some time.

I'm sure the TV crews will be covering the news throughout the night.

TV station filming the fire

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Ana said on 9-Mar-2008,
Bela e trágica, como a vida!