Massive fuel-depot fire breaks out in Brazil

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Associated Press

Posted on May 23, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Updated Thursday, May 23 at 11:36 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A massive fire broke out Thursday at a fuel depot on the northern outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, sending bright orange flames leaping high into the air and thick black smoking rolling upward and enveloping the area.

Firefighters said in an emailed statement that no injuries had been reported yet. They evacuated a two-block area around the blaze. There was no word on a possible cause.

About an hour after the fire broke out, it began to spread from the six fuel storage tanks that initially caught fire. Residents of the area told Globo TV that they heard loud explosions before the blaze started.

Television images showed a firefighter coming to the aid of an elderly woman using a walker. Minutes later, a gas tanker truck caught fire nearby.

Firefighters were unable to get within a block of the blaze; its intense heat kept them at bay. Water from two fire trucks arched through the smoke in a mostly futile attempt to control the flames as police helicopters buzzed nearby.

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