Fire in Chilean city of Valparaíso destroys about 50 homes: firefighters

A house burns following the spread of wildfires in Valparaiso, Chile, December 24, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A fire in a poor neighborhood of the coastal Chilean city of Valparaíso destroyed dozens of houses on Tuesday and firefighters struggled to control the blaze, authorities said.

Inhabitants fled their homes in the middle of Christmas Eve festivities, some losing all their belongings and even pets, a Reuters witness said.

“The entire Valparaíso Fire Department with support from neighboring units is deployed. The fire has consumed about 50 homes,” firefighters said on Twitter. Two nearby neighborhoods were being evacuated, they said.

The blaze, fed by high Southern Hemisphere summer temperatures and strong winds, started in a forested area and spread to the city, firefighters said.

Valparaiso, known for its colorful wood-frame houses, is popular among tourists in the South American country.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Hugh Bronstein; editing by Grant McCool

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