Firefighters say 10 people have died in a fire at a training facility of one of Brazil’s biggest football clubs.
A fire at the training centre of Rio de Janeiro football club Flamengo has killed ten people and injured at least three others, firefighters have said.
The fire broke out on Friday at Ninho do Urubu, a state-of-the-art training centre that was expanded and opened only two months ago.
Images on Globo News from a helicopter showed smoke emerging from a charred area.
The alma mater of players such as Zico, Junior and Leonardo, Flamengo is one of the best-supported clubs in Brazil and is well-known around the world.
After years of financial difficulties, Flamengo last year spent 23 million reais ($6.2m) to expand the Ninho do Urubu facilities. In addition to accommodation for young players, the facilities include several pitches, an aquatic park, a gym, a medical centre and a mini stadium.
The Ninho do Urubu, or Vulture’s Nest, is so called because the club’s symbol is a vulture.
It was not known if any players were hurt in the blaze, although the club has accommodation for teenage players at the ground.
Local media reported that the fire happened in a dorm where youth players sleep. “The kids from the Flamengo youth team were sleeping there at the time,” firefighter Douglas Henaut told Globo News.
The fire follows days of heavy rains that hit the city and claimed at least six lives.
Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior, who joined the club last year expressed shock and solidarity.
“Just remembering the nights and days I spent at the training centre, it gives me goosebumps,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I still can’t believe it but praying for all. God bless everyone’s family.”
Só de lembrar as noites e dias que passei no ct, é de arrepiar. Ainda sem acreditar, mas em oração por todos! Que Deus abençoe a família de cada um! ? pic.twitter.com/RcBsdH3GME
Zico, who is outside Brazil, wrote on Instagram: “What a shock getting this news here on the other side of the world,” the former Brazil midfielder wrote.
“May the Red-and-Black nation have strength and faith to get through this moment.”
Flamengo made no official statement other than to tweet that it was in mourning. But rival teams across Brazil, including fellow Rio sides Botafogo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama, tweeted their solidarity.
The tragedy came a day before the side was due to play arch rivals Fluminense at the Maracana stadium. The derby match is now expected to be postponed.
One of Flamengo’s most high-profile fans, the country’s vice-president, also expressed his condolences.
“As a fan and sportsman I stand in solidarity with the families, the club and the Red-and-Black nation,” General Hamilton Mourao wrote on twitter. “May God comfort all.”
#ForçaFlamengo Profundamente triste nesta manhã com a tragédia no CT do #Flamengo . Como torcedor e esportista solidarizo-me com as famílias, o Clube e a Nação Rubro-Negra. Deus conforte a todos. Toque de silêncio.
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