Thousands of elaborate costumes, props and floats have been destroyed in a fire that broke out this morning (February 11) in Rio’s Samba City.
The Cidade do Samba, located in Rio’s docklands area, serves as a storage wherehouse for carnival costumes as well as a venue for colorful samba shows. Now, with just 20 days to go until Carnival 2011, some 4,800 pieces have been destroyed by the flames.
Firefighters from across the city have been onsight all day trying to keep the blaze under control, but the scale of the fire has wiped out 80 per cent of the props and costumes stored there.
The samba schools of Portela, Ilha do Governador and Grande Rio have seen almost a year’s work destroyed in just a few hours. A devastated Marcio Andre Souza, director of Ilha do Governador’s samba school, said that 80 per cent of the preparations were finished, and that the finishing touches were set to be put to all props and floats set to be made by February 20. “Now we have to put everything together in just 2o days” he said.
The samba schools are now making a desperate plea for the communties to come together to try to rebuild their dreams in time for the start of Carnival on March 7.
Although no casualty figures have been released, it is not thought that anybody was seriously hurt in the fire. It is not yet known how the blaze began.
Photo courtesy of Helen Trouten