At least 100 homes burned as fire erupts in Valparaiso, Chile

January 3, 2017 04:09

SANTIAGO - A large fire broke out in the coastal Chilean city of Valparaiso on Monday evening, burning at least 100 homes, prompting the evacuation of about 400 people and sending plumes of smoke high in the air.

Chilean Interior Minister Mahmud Aleuy said in televised remarks that 19 people had been slightly injured, including 16 suffering from respiratory issues. Power was initially cut to about 47,000 customers in the region, but had been restored to all but 350, he said.Dozens of fire brigades from Valparaiso and neighboring municipalities were deployed to fight the blaze, and investigators had been sent in to determine the cause of the fire, according to the government.

Images on social media showed huge brown-gray columns of smoke emanating from a neighborhood high in one of the city's hills, and pouring into the sky and out over the Pacific Ocean.

Authorities said gusty winds and high temperatures were likely a factor in spreading the blaze.

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