- Title: Massive wildfire destroys about 200 homes in Valparaiso
- Date: 26th December 2019
- Summary: VALPARAISO, CHILE (DECEMBER 26, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MARTA PINTO, SITTING OUTSIDE HER HOUSE WHICH WAS DESTROYED BY WILDFIRES VARIOUS OF PEOPLE CLEANING DEBRIS / CHARRED REMAINS AFTER FIRES GENERAL VIEW OF DESTROYED HOUSES CHILEAN FLAGS AND DESTROYED HOUSES IN BACKGROUND GENERAL VIEW OF DESTROYED HOUSES (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) AFFECTED RESIDENT, MARTA PINTO, SAYING: "My granddaughter told me: 'Mum, the fire is coming down from up there (from the hill).' And I got up, started looking around and the fire was coming down. So they took me out, because I suffer from lung disease. They took me to the house of a niece and then my husband arrived and he said: 'We lost everything' and I felt so sad, well, I've already cried it all, now. My heart is sore for everything that has happened, as much for us and for the rest of the neighbours, that we have suffered this tremendous tragedy." WOMEN HUGGING VARIOUS OF A WOMAN COLLECTING REMAINS AFTER FIRES GENERAL VIEW OF DESTROYED HOUSES (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) AFFECTED RESIDENT, JUAN SILVA, SAYING: "Years of sacrifice. I have been here for 45 years, it has cost me so much to build my house and now, that is, the situation. I cannot generate more resources than my retirement, I cannot do anything else (work). I still suffer from the aftermath of Polio (Poliomyelitis). I can't stand for long periods (of time), I can't remain sitting down. I have osteoarthritis in the hips and knees, feet. We are not in a good shape and are sleeping in the bathroom." GENERAL VIEW OF DESTROYED HOUSES PEOPLE COLLECTING DEBRIS / CHARRED REMAINS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) AFFECTED RESIDENT, GILBER BUGUENO, SAYING: "Nothing, I lost everything, everything, all my belongings. We leased, we were in a leased house and I lost everything, I lost everything. Here (was) my parents' house. I was born here. This little one here, who is my nephew, also lost everything. My sister had a business, my brother, back there, had a small SME (Small and Medium Business) bakery, (selling) pasty's, pizzas, everything was lost." VARIOUS OF MANUEL MORENO, WHO LOST HIS HOME IN THE FOREST FIRE, SITTING WITH HIS WIFE IN FRONT THEIR HOUSE MORENO'S DESTROYED HOUSE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) AFFECTED RESIDENT, MANUEL MORENO, SAYING: ''I started to climb up the ladder and I saw my house (burning). Everything happened so quickly, so fast. I managed to get out with my wife, my children, my grandchildren, with what I was wearing. And now, I don't know whether to wait for the mercy of the people, if they will help us. We have to start over again.'' PEOPLE COLLECTING REMAINS GENERAL VIEW OF DESTROYED HOUSES PEOPLE WALKING AROUND THE DESTROYED HOMES (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) AFFECTED RESIDENT, JUAN SILVA, SAYING: "We were all left with nothing. I did not anything out, don't even my walking cane or anything, or my medicine or anything. Because it happened in seconds. The smoke and fire covered the houses. There was no time for anything else. No time at all. I left the house with what I was wearing. We had no time. Many miraculously managed to get out alive.'' VARIOUS OF DESTROYED HOUSES (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) AFFECTED RESIDENT, MARTA PINTO, SAYING: "About 40 years or so (living in Cerro Rocuant) Yes, 40 years. My husband built all this, and we are here now, with much sacrifice (they built their house), you know that with sacrifice one achieves what one desires. But this is unrecoverable." HELICOPTER FLYING OVERHEAD VARIOUS OF PEOPLE CLEANING DEBRIS MEN HOLDING CHILEAN FLAGS
- Embargoed: 9th January 2020 20:13
- Keywords: Chile Valparaiso affected forest fire wildfire
- Location: VALPARAISO, CHILE
- City: VALPARAISO, CHILE
- Country: Chile
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Wildfires/Forest Fires
- Reuters ID: LVA001BBM4MDJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: More than 245 homes have been destroyed and 700 people left destitute after a forest fire tore through a low-income area of the Chilean seaside city of Valparaiso on Christmas Eve.
President Sebastian Pinera said on Thursday (December 26) during a tour of the affected zone that there was evidence the fire had been started deliberately.
Valparaiso, known for its colourful wood-frame houses, is popular among tourists in the South American country.
The fire broke out in a forested area on the outskirts of the city and spread toward the coast, hitting the Rocuant and San Roque hills, a jumble of settlements that overlook the city.
Inhabitants fled their homes just moments before sitting down to their Christmas Eve dinner, some losing all their belongings and even pets.
Marta Pinto, 78, said her granddaughter spotted the fire coming down the hill and raised the alarm.
"My granddaughter told me: 'Mum, the fire is coming down from up there (from the hill).' And I got up, started looking around and the fire was coming down. So they took me out, because I suffer from lung disease. They took me to the house of a niece and then my husband arrived and he said: 'We lost everything' and I felt so sad, well, I've already cried it all, now. My heart is sore for everything that has happened, as much for us and for the rest of the neighbours, that we have suffered this tremendous tragedy."
Chile's forestry commission said the fire was only fully brought under control at midday on Thursday with the help of nine firefighting teams, five helicopters and two water trucks. A total of 132 hectares of vegetation were destroyed, it added.
Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker said the high temperatures at the height of the Southern Hemisphere summer, which runs from December to March, and dry conditions caused by a historic drought currently blighting Chile had provided fertile ground for the fire. Valparaiso's mayor Jorge Sharp, said on Wednesday (December 25) he had filed a criminal complaint with the courts against those who started the fire, once they are identified.
(Production: Jorge Vega, Carolina Fernandez)
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