A massive fire has torn through a 200-year-old museum in Rio de Janeiro, destroying priceless artifacts.
Firefighters worked to put out the blaze at the esteemed National Museum in northern Rio. It wasn’t immediately clear how the fire began.
More than 20 million items were contained in the museum’s collection, including the fossilized remains of “Luzia”, the oldest human fossil found in Brazil.
Brazilian President Michael Temer tweeted on Sunday evening that it was “a sad day for all Brazilians”.
News portal G1, citing the museum, reported that nobody was injured and the fire began after the museum had closed for the day.
Moises Torres from the state’s firefighting headquarters said firefighters got the call and were dispatched at 7.30pm. He said there was no immediate information about injuries.
BREAKING: The National Museum of #Brazil in #Rio is completely consumed in fire. Founded in 1818, the museum is the holder of over 20 million items, including mummies, meteorites, insects, & fossils. So sad to see history in flames 🙁
— Justin Fleenor 🔁 (@JustinFleenor) September 3, 2018
In a statement, President Michel Temer said it was “a sad day for all Brazilians”.
“Two hundred years of work, investigation and knowledge have been lost,” said Temer.
According to the museum’s website, it has thousands of items related to the history of Brazil and other countries, and is part of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
— Marina Amaral (@marinamaral2) September 3, 2018
The collections include artefacts from Egypt, Greco-Roman art and some of the first fossils found in Brazil, according to the website. Many of those collections came from members of Brazil’s royal family.