Fire at Flamengo training centre in Rio kills 10 people

Florence Fletcher
February 9, 2019

A fire tore through the sleeping quarters of a development league for one of Brazil's most popular professional soccer clubs on Friday, killing 10 people who were most likely players and injuring three others, authorities said.

Flamengo, based in Rio de Janeiro, is considered as one of the most supported and established soccer clubs in the history of Brazilian soccer, featuring former Brazilian legends such as Zico, Romario, Bebeto and Ronaldinho.

The cause was not immediately known, but local newspaper Extra said witnesses alleged the fire started in the air conditioning system.

He did not take questions from reporters who were also outside the complex and gave no details about the players involved, but added: "The most important thing right now is to minimize the suffering of these families".

Ten youth team players have been confirmed dead after a fire at the training ground of Brazilian giants Flamengo.

"The air conditioner caught fire, and I ran out", said Felipe Cardoso, a midfielder with the under-17 side.

Overhead images captured by an AP drone showed a charred area with smoke emerging.

Local media reported that the fire happened in a dorm where young players sleep.

Ten dead in fire at football club ground in Brazil
10 killed as fire engulfs youth team football training center in Rio de Janeiro

In addition to accommodation for young players, the facilities include several pitches, an aquatic park, a gym, a medical center and a mini-stadium.

As news of the fire broke, several teams and players expressed their condolences on Twitter.

After years of financial difficulties, Flamengo last year spent 23 million reais ($6.2 million) to expand the Ninho do Urubu training ground, which was being used both by the first team and youth squads. The fire was reportedly controlled at around 7:20 a.m.

The Ninho do Urubu, or Vulture's Nest is so called because the club's symbol is a vulture. The facility was closed, and no officials had come out to address media.

"I am very happy". Instead, he went to a friend's house.

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior, who trained at the centre while being a part of Flamengo's youth academy before moving to Spain, tweeted: "What sad news!"

The main team had been due to practice at the same facility later in the morning.

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