Disaster zone declared as 4 die in huge fire consuming Chile coastal city
Published on Apr 13, 2014 8:28 PM
VALPARAïSO, Chile (AFP) - Four people have died in a huge fire that on Sunday was consuming the outskirts of Chile's port city of Valparaiso and was advancing unchecked towards its Unesco-listed historic centre, destroying hundreds of homes along the way and forcing the evacuation of more than 3,000 people.
The military has taken over security in the city, located on the Pacific coast 110km north-west of the capital Santiago and with a population of 270,000, after the government declared it a disaster zone.
"This is the worst catastrophe Valparaiso has ever seen," the regional government administrator Ricardo Bravo told local reporters.
Many residents overnight watched, helpless, from distant vantage points as the hills burned bright red. Thick smoke clouded the sky.
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