The dreams of thousands of participants in Rio de Janeiro’s world famous carnival have gone up in smoke less than a month before the annual street party is due to start.
A big fire took hold in Rio’s carnival centre where groups had spent much of the past year making lavish floats and extravagant costumes.
For many, especially from the city’s poor areas, it is not just a party, but a way of life.
One distraught worker from the Grande Rio samba school said: “This is not only about samba, this is culture. And there are workers involved. It’s a livelihood for many people.”
Another samba school employee, Tania Aparecida, added: “We have lost everything. We’re really suffering. It’s a lifetime’s work that we loved and cared about. It’s painful to see it like this, turning to ashes in just minutes.”
Workers were seen running into the complex to try to save what they could.The fire took hold quickly among the wood, plastic and fabric used for the flamboyant displays. Thousands of costumes have been destroyed.
One person has been treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.