Huge blaze at historic museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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A 200-year-old museum in Rio de Janeiro is being engulfed by flames.

The National Museum of Brazil houses more than 20 million items, ranging from archaeological findings to historical memorabilia.

Firefighters are tackling the fire, which broke out after visiting hours.

The museum is housed in a palace where the Portuguese royal family lived in the 19th century
  Huge blaze at historic museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil skynews brazil rio fire museum 4410004
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The museum is housed in a palace where the Portuguese royal family lived in the 19th century

The museum houses millions of items related to the history of Brazil and other countries  Huge blaze at historic museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil skynews rio de janerio brazil 4409996
Image:
The museum houses millions of items related to the history of Brazil and other countries

Sergeant Moises Torres from the state’s firefighting headquarters said firefighters were dispatched at 7.30pm. He said there was no immediate information about any injuries.

It is not known what the extent of the damage is, nor what the cause of the fire is.

Brazil’s President Michel Temer said on Twitter it was a “sad day for all Brazilians”.

He added: “The value of our history cannot be measured by the damage to the building.”

Brazil's President Michel Temer said it was a 'sad day for all Brazilians'
  Huge blaze at historic museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil skynews brazil fire rio 4410003
Image:
Brazil’s President Michel Temer said it was a ‘sad day for all Brazilians’

The fire could be seen from miles away  Huge blaze at historic museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil skynews brazil fire museum 4409997
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The fire could be seen from miles away

The museum is the oldest scientific institution of Brazil and one of the largest museums of natural history and anthropology in the Americas.

It houses several landmark collections including Egyptian artefacts and the oldest human fossil found in Brazil.

The museum, which is tied to the Rio de Janeiro federal university and the Education Ministry, was founded in 1818.

The museum is housed in the Paco de Sao Cristovao, a palace where the Portuguese royal family lived in the 19th century.



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