Massive fire strikes National Museum of Brazil

The National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro was struck by a massive fire today and it shows no signs of abating. Founded in 1818, the museum moved into the former residence of the Portuguese royal family in 1889. Every floor of the historic building is completely engulfed in flames. Firefighters are still struggling to get it under control now before it reaches a storage area that contains chemicals. There are no reports of any injuries (or worse) so far. The fire broke out around 7:30 PM after the museum had closed for the day, so all the visitors were gone and hopefully the employees were as well.

The museum is one of the oldest and largest in the Americas and has a vast collection of more than 20 million artifacts, including the oldest human remains ever discovered in Brazil, the 12,000-year-old skeleton of an adult woman known as Luzia. It also houses an internationally important library with more than 470,000 works, 2,400 of them extremely rare.

Brazil’s President Michel Temer released a heartbreaking statement: “It is incalculable for Brazil to lose the collection of the National Museum. Two hundred years of work, research and knowledge were lost. It is a sad day for all Brazilians.”

And for the world. 😥