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Huge fire engulfs downtown Lima

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By Gareth Browne
Flames tower over Lima's commercial zone
Flames tower over Lima's commercial zone

A massive fire has torn through the centre Lima, in Peru, destroying dozens of buildings in the city's commercial zone.

The fire broke out around 17:30 local time on Friday, and flames had soon engulfed a warehouse and a number of surrounding buildings. Hundreds of firefighters were called to the scene, and surrounding areas evacuated - though there were no reported casualties.

Peru’s President, Martín Vizcarra, said that although the flames had been "confined" by firefighters, they should still work "all night" to extinguish the fire.

Vizcarra added that some 200 firemen, 350 policemen and 8 ambulances were involved in the operation to combat the flames.

He said the fact it had taken place on a Friday had likely prevented the loss of human life, though the flames continued to tower over the commercial zone into the early hours of Saturday morning.

Authorities refused to comment on the possible cause of the blaze.

The fire broke out in the same part of the city that was the site of Peru’s worst fire. Almost 300 people were killed in the blaze known as Mesa Redonda on December 29th 2001. The blaze ignited a number of stockpiles of fireworks — on sale for the festive period.