Sunday 22 April 2018

Tears for Rio carnival as fire ravages samba city

Jason Hunter in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil's world-famous Rio de Janeiro carnival went up in flames yesterday as fire destroyed warehouses holding costumes and floats for this year's event.

With a month left before the start on March 6, there is no way to replace them.

Seamstresses, set designers and musicians watched in tears as firefighters struggled to control the blaze.

"Do you know what it feels like to work all day, into the night, to make this happen, and then this?" asked Graziela Goncalves Carvalho, a seamstress with one of the groups affected. "It's over. There's nothing. This carnival is over for us."

There were no reports of serious injuries or deaths.

Even before the flames were out, it was clear that four of the four-storey warehouses were extensively damaged, with two of them collapsing. Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, who plays in one samba group's percussion section, promised the city would help the groups recover and vowed that the carnival parades would go on.

"These people will put on a great carnival, and will show the energy and the optimism that Rio has," he said.

"I've cried a lot over this, and now it's time to think about what can be saved," said Roberto Szaniecki, the theme developer for Portela group. "But I want to make this clear: we're going to get out there. We've got a carnival to put on."

Irish Independent

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