Valparaiso: At least 16 people have been killed while 600 other injured in a huge fire that on Sunday was consuming the outskirts of Chile’s port city of Valparaiso, destroying hundreds of homes along the way and forcing the evacuation of more than 3,000 people.
The military has taken over security in the city, located on the Pacific coast 110 kilometers (70 miles) northwest of the capital Santiago and with a population of 270,000, after the government declared it a disaster zone.
“This is the worst catastrophe Valparaiso has ever seen,” the regional government administrator, Ricardo Bravo, told local reporters.
Helicopter, airplanes and hundreds of firemen, including ones dispatched from the capital, were hopelessly outmatched in their battle to limit the spreading disaster.
The massive tongues of flame were advancing down the slopes of the city towards its port and heritage-listed center, driven by strong winds.
The city is spread out over more than 40 hills, hindering emergency vehicle traffic.
A firefighter works near houses on fire in Valparaiso, 110 km west of Santiago, Chile, on April 12, …
The vast blaze has caused cuts to power and drinking water in many areas of Valparaiso.