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Fast-spreading fire in Valparaiso, Chile, kills 12 people, forces 10,000 to evacuate

A fast-spreading fire in the port city of Valparaiso, Chile, killed 12 people, left over 500 families without homes, and forced the evacuation of nearly 10,000.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   April 14, 2014 at 11:08 AM

VALPARAISO, Chile, April 14 (UPI) -- A fast-spreading fire in the port city of Valparaiso, Chile, killed 12 people, left over 500 families without homes and forced the evacuation of nearly 10,000.

Strong winds and high temperatures allowed the fire to expand across one of the steep and heavily-populated hills of the city, and the area's narrow roads made it difficult to bring in fire-fighting equipment. The fire was under control by Sunday, officials said, but reignited.

The cause of the fire was not determined.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, visiting the scene of the fire Sunday and declaring a state of emergency, said 2,000 troops had arrived in Valparaiso, a city of 250,000, as had 1,250 firefighters.
Eight emergency shelters were established to receive the evacuees. Many returned to their homes Sunday to learn they had lost all their possessions in the fire.

The fire is the second emergency situation for Bachelet since she took office a month ago. An 8.2 earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile on Apr. 1, followed by a 7.8 aftershock.


[New York Times]

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