At least one killed in São Paulo tower block collapse

Brazil fire: São Paulo building collapses in huge blaze

Scores of firefighters have battled a huge fire that engulfed an apartment building in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo in the early hours of Tuesday, a fire official said.

The BBC reports that the fire began around 1.20am local time (4.20am GMT), and that over 100 firefighters attended the scene.

The blaze is now under control, the spokesman added.

Firefighters said at least one person died and at least three more were missing in the collapsed building, the former headquarters of Brazil's federal police. According to some information, the fallen building was inhabited by homeless people.

Resident Romulo de Souza told Globo TV that the fire started on the fourth floor.

Two buildings have caught on fired. The fire is believed to have originated on the fifth floor, presumably because of the blast of a gas tank, and quickly swept through the entire building.

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During a brief visit to the area Tuesday, President Michel Temer told reporters that the government would help those affected by the fire. The government estimates that almost 4,000 families are living in vacant buildings downtown.

"We woke and the building was already on fire", he said. He did not provide details and was whisked away by security as several people shouted obscenities at him.

"I was unsure if my son had taken my youngest daughter", Antonio, 48, told AFP.

"There was no security, there were not adequate electrical installations, there were no safe staircases, there were piles of rubbish - there was everything you need to start a major fire", he said.

Sao Paulo state Governor Marcio Franca said "it was a tragedy waiting to happen...."

First responders were using dogs and removing rubble by hand in the hope of finding survivors, the Sao Paulo Fire Department tweeted.

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