A fire that occurred this Monday in an irregular camp in the Chilean city of Iquique (north) left at least a hundred precarious homes consumed by the flames and 400 people affected, according to the authorities.
“About 100 houses were consumed by fire in Laguna Verde, with more than 400 victims”, reported the Regional Presidential Delegation of the Tarapacá region, about 1,790 km north of Santiago.
The Laguna Verde neighborhood is located in one of the desert hills that surround the coastal city of Iquique and, being an irregular settlement, does not have basic services such as channeling water through pipes or other basic services, which further complicated the performance of firefighters.
The houses of the place are mostly made of light materials such as metal or wooden plates, glued to each other and with narrow unpaved passages, so that in a matter of hours the flames jumped from one house to another.
“It had a very rapid spread, considering the conditions that were presented to us on stage, such as the problem of the terrain to access our emergency units and the deployment of material,” said the commander of the Iquique Fire Department, Jorge Medina.
Medina also confirmed that at least six firefighters were injured “mainly due to thermal stress and the physical effort they had to make” to get the materials to the top of the hill, where the trucks could not access.
He also indicated that at least 15 people were injured by the flames, which spread for several hours. No fatalities were registered, but 400 people were counted as victims.
From the Regional Presidential Delegation of Tarapacá they indicated that the fire is “controlled” but not suffocated and there is still a risk of spreading. They also added that city schools have been established as shelters for those affected.
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