By Manuela Andreoni, Shasta Darlington and Tariq Panja |
RIO DE JANEIRO (New York Times) — Fire consumed a dormitory early Friday at a Brazilian training center for teenage soccer players run by one of South America’s most prominent teams, killing at least 10 in a disaster that reverberated through the soccer world and beyond.
The fire in the dormitory, which may have been constructed improperly on what was intended to be a parking lot, was the latest in a string of seemingly preventable tragedies that have convulsed Brazil over the past two weeks.
It struck the training center of the Flamengo club in Rio de Janeiro, breaking out in the early morning when many youth players, ages 14 to 17, were asleep. Three others were injured, one seriously, and were taken to a hospital.
Officials would not confirm the identities of the dead. But Globoesporte, a Brazilian sports news website, said all were players. The dorm housed 26 players and 13 escaped unharmed, the website said.
“The location was completely consumed in flames,” Douglas Henaut, a lieutenant with firefighters, told journalists at the scene. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to rescue anyone inside. As much as we tried to enter and locate the victims, it wasn’t possible. The bodies were found totally charred.”
Flamengo is one of Brazil’s most popular soccer clubs and is considered a symbol of the country’s global dominance in the training and development of young athletes who aspire to join professional soccer.