BURNED ALIVE Ten kids feared dead in Flamengo Brazil
YOUTH team stars at top Brazilian side Flamengo are believed to be among ten teenagers killed in a fire at their training headquarters.
Firefighters were called to the training centre in Rio de Janeiro, home of the academy of the most popular club in the country, at 5am local time.
Douglas Henaut, Lieutenant Colonel of the Fire Brigade, said that all the dead were between 14 and 17 years old. Six were athletes, ESPN reported.
He added that all the teens were asleep when the fire, which lasted two hours before being extinguished, tore through the building.
Ariel footage showed corrugated iron roofs distorted by the fire and piles of charred items. Nearby trees were also scorched by the flames.
The building is normally used to house players, with Henault confirming: “The kids from the Flamengo youth team were sleeping there at the time.”
According to O Globo, three others were taken to hospital injured, one of whom is in a serious condition.
The website named the wounded as: Cauã Emanoel Gomes Nuines, 14; and Francisco Diogo Bento Alves, 15; and Jonathan Cruz Ventura, 15.
PLAYERS FLEE BLAZE
Club officials also revealed players heroically used fire extinguishers to battle the blaze, which was concentrated at the rooms’ exits, making escape difficult.
Washington Barbosa, 45, revealed his son, 17-year-old Samuel Barbosa, was among those who managed to survive.
The lad was sleeping when the fire broke out and managed to wake a friend before the pair escaped the inferno.
He added: “He is very shaken, he does not stop crying.
“I was also desperate, I had a mixture of relief with emotion when I got in touch with him.”
There is still no official confirmation on what may have caused the fire.
CLUB LEGENDS PAY TRIBUTE
This morning Flamengo club legend Zico posted on Instagram a message to the relatives of those killed in the blaze.
He wrote: “What a shock to receive this news here from the other side of the world.
“God comfort the relatives who lost their children, grandchildren, brothers, nephews, relatives.
“Let everything be hurried because a tragedy like this can not go unheeded. The Black-Red Nation has the strength and faith to overcome this moment.”
And Romario, who played for Flamengo after stints with Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven in Europe, wrote on Twitter: “All my solidarity with the families of the young and Flamengo, interrupted dreams and devastated families.”
After years of financial difficulties, Flamengo last year spent 23million reais (£4.7million) to expand the facilities, known as the The Urubu’s Nest because of the club’s vulture symbol.
The dormitory destroyed by the fire was due to be torn down, according to local reports.
In addition to accommodation for young players, the facilities include several pitches, an aquatic park, a gym, a medical centre and a mini stadium.
Vinicius Junior, the teenage Real Madrid forward who trained at the facility before joining for the Spanish giants last year, tweeted his condolences.
He wrote: “What sad News! Praying for everyone! Strength, strength, strength.”