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Disaster zone declared as 4 die in huge fire consuming Chile coastal city

Published on Apr 13, 2014 8:28 PM
 
View of houses in flames during a fire in Valparaiso, 110km west of Santiago, Chile, on April 12, 2014. Four people have died in a huge fire that on Sunday, April 13, 2014, 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. -- PHOTO: AFP

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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