In Brief

Fire destroys National Museum of Brazil

More than 20 million items believed to have been lost to the flames

A large fire has engulfed the 200-year-old National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, filling the skies with smoke and flames as firefighters worked through the night to try to save its priceless collection.

The fire, whose cause is currently unknown, reportedly broke out after the museum had closed for the day. 

“Two hundred years of work, investigation and knowledge have been lost,” Brazilian president Michel Temer said, adding that it was “a sad day for all Brazilians”.

The director of the National Museum, Paulo Knauss, told local media that the fire was “a tragedy”.

The BBC says the museum housed more than 20 million items in its collection, including “important dinosaur bones and a 12,000-year-old human skeleton of a woman - the oldest ever found in the Americas”.

Roberto Robadey, a spokesman for the fire department, said “80 firefighters were working to put out the blaze and that some pieces had been spared”, the Associated Press reports.

“We were able to remove a lot of things from inside with the help of workers of the museum,” Robadey said.

The building, once the residence of the Portuguese royal family during the colonial era, was converted into a museum 200 years ago.

Staff at the museum had reportedly been complaining about the condition of the building, calling on the government to fund urgently needed repairs.

Recommended

Tech tiffs, shipping shortages and mammoth science projects
Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes
Podcast

Tech tiffs, shipping shortages and mammoth science projects

Quiz of The Week: 11 - 17 September
New Foreign Secretary Liz Truss departs No. 10
Quizzes and puzzles

Quiz of The Week: 11 - 17 September

Joe Biden: ‘a default president at the helm of a middling administration’
Joe Biden
In Brief

Joe Biden: ‘a default president at the helm of a middling administration’

‘Backlash over deal’
Today's newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘Backlash over deal’

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021
Wildfire in Greece
In pictures

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives
Kenneth Feinberg at a Congressional hearing
Profile

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives

The Week Footer Banner