Flamengo CEO Reinaldo Belotti: Deadly Fire Caused by Electricity Spike

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2019

Flowers are seen on a flag of Brazilian football club Flamengo at the entrance of its  training center, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 8, 2019, after a deadly fire. - Fire swept through a training facility for Brazil's most popular football club Flamengo Friday, killing at least 10 people, authorities said. (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
CARL DE SOUZA/Getty Images

Flamengo CEO Reinaldo Belotti has said the fire that killed 10 young players at the club's training ground on Friday was caused by an electricity spike that sparked a fire in an air conditioning unit.

Per Reuters (h/t ESPN), the fire followed a storm over Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday night that killed at least six people.

Belotti attributed the electricity spike to the weather: "It was a succession of events after a catastrophic day for Rio that led to this even greater catastrophe."

The fire burned through a dormitory at the Urubu's Nest training ground, where the club's youth players slept:

Following the fire, the mayor's office for Rio said the club had been told to close down the dorm "almost 30 times" because the area it was built on was registered as a parking lot, but Belotti dismissed that issue as a contributing factor:

"This area was well known to everyone, It was comfortable and adequate. We were proud of it. The truth is that it was a tragic accident. It was not because of a lack of investment by Flamengo. It was not because Flamengo did not take care."

All of the victims have been identified and were aged between 14 and 17 years old.

A club supporters group paid tribute to those killed:

Three others were hospitalised—one in "serious condition"—while 10 other teenagers escaped unharmed. One boy recounted that he woke in the early hours of Friday morning to discover his air conditioning unit was aflame.

Flamengo were scheduled to host Fluminense in the semi-final of the Taca Guanabara on Saturday, but the match has been moved to Thursday.

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