Brazil’s National Museum, home to most of the country’s most important artefacts has been gutted by fire.
Reports say the 200-year-old historic museum also known as Rio Museu Nacional, located in Rio de Janeiro, caught fire Sunday night after the building had closed for the day in and all efforts by firefighters to put out th the massive flames were unsuccessful.
It was not immediately clear what could have caused the fire but the museum has reportedly had infrastructure problems in recent years.
“Two hundred years of work, investigation and knowledge have been lost,” Brazil’s President Michel Temer tweeted just as Sgt. Moises Torres, of the state’s firefighting headquarters, said it wasn’t known if anyone was injured in the blaze.
Sérgio Sá Leitão, the country’s culture minister, also told the newsmen how tragic it was to see the museum in flames, and, according to a translation of his remarks, said the fire “could certainly have been avoided.”
Several citizens who were gathered at the scene criticised the fact that the museum containing their most precious artefacts has burned down seemingly because there was no money for maintenance of hydrants, blaming it on the government’s austerity policies and corruption.
The facility held thousands of items related to the history of Brazil and other countries, according to its website, and is part of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Many of its collections came from members of Brazil’s royal family.
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