Fire in Chilean city of Valparaíso destroys about 50 homes

Reuters Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile Dec 25, 2019, 10.55 AM(IST)

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire in Valparaiso, Chile. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Inhabitants fled their homes in the middle of Christmas Eve festivities, some losing all their belongings and even pets, a witness said.

A fire in a poor neighbourhood of the coastal Chilean city of Valparaíso destroyed dozens of houses on Tuesday and firefighters struggled to control the blaze, authorities said.

Inhabitants fled their homes in the middle of Christmas Eve festivities, some losing all their belongings and even pets, a witness said.

"The entire Valparaíso Fire Department with support from neighboring units is deployed. The fire has consumed about 50 homes," firefighters said on Twitter. Two nearby neighbourhoods were being evacuated, they said.

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The blaze, fed by high Southern Hemisphere summer temperatures and strong winds, started in a forested area and spread to the city, firefighters said.

Valparaiso, known for its colourful wood-frame houses, is popular among tourists in the South American country.