Latin America & Caribbean

Sao Paulo fire wrecks historic railway station

Fire-fighters work to douse the flames at the Portuguese Language Museum in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption According to the Sao Paulo Fire Department one fire-fighter died in the blaze

A fire in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo has destroyed parts of a historic 19th Century railway station housing a popular museum.

The museum, which documents the history of the Portuguese language, was severely damaged.

The blaze destroyed the roof of the "Station of Light" which was originally built by the British.

It was constructed in 1901 during the coffee boom to transport the beans to the Atlantic port of Santos.

One fireman was killed in the enormous blaze which raged unchecked for hours despite a heavy downpour.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Flames engulfed the third floor of the museum which is closed on Mondays, the day of the fire
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The fire destroyed most of the museum and brought down the original 19th Century roof

The suburban railway line next to the burning building was closed for safety.

The "Station of Light" was named after the neighbourhood it was built in.

It was designed and built in 1901 by a prominent British railway station architect, Charles Henry Driver.

With its railway clock tower and its classic steel arched roof it was thought to have been modelled on British railway stations of the same period.

However, some historians say it was inspired by Finders Street station in the Australian city of Melbourne.

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