A major fire has claimed the lives of 10 people at Flamengo’s training centre in Vargem Grande in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro, the local fire department has confirmed.
Six players and four members of staff are amongst the deceased.
Three others were injured in the blaze, with one thought to be in a serious condition, and were taken to the Lourenco Jorge Municipal Hospital in Barra da Tijuca, also in the West Zone.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Henaut of the fire service, the fire was in the accommodation in which the players sleep.
Those who survived the tragedy were identified as 14-year-old Caua Emanoel Gomes Nuines, Francisco Diogo Bento Alves, 15, and Jonathan Cruz Ventura, 15.
“The site was at the accommodation where the players were sleeping,” Douglas said in an interview with Globo TV. “We have not identified the victims, that will be carried out by the civil police.”
In addition, Douglas could not yet confirm the cause of the fire, but did say that those killed were likely sleeping when the blaze started.
“There is a possibility that the victims were asleep due to the location and the time of the event. They may not have had time to leave.”
In an interview with Sportv, a worker in a nearby apartment complex said he heard an explosion around 5:10am local time, followed by a power outage.
The father of an as yet unnamed 17-year-old survivor also spoke to the press: “My son woke up in smoke, called on his friend and ran off. I spoke to him this morning. We feel deep sadness for the other boys that we knew.”
According to further information provided by the fire department, the situation is now under control.
Tributes have understandably been pouring in for the victims, with Brazil icon Zico and former Flamengo player Vinicius Jr, now at Real Madrid, leading the condolences.
“What a tragedy at Flamengo,” Zico said. “What a shock to receive this news. May god comfort the families who lost their children, grandchildren, brothers, nephews and relatives.
“Let us pray for all,” Vinicius added. “Strength, strength and strength.”
Flamengo had been scheduled to play against fierce rivals Fluminense on Saturday, but the football association for the state of Rio has confirmed that the match will be postponed pending discussions with the clubs and the TV rights holders.
“The FERJ regrets the tragedy at the training centre of Flamengo and sympathises with the families of the victims.
“FERJ reports that this is not the time for Flamego vs Fluminense to go ahead and will discuss the matter with the clubs and the TV rights holders to decide on a rescheduled date.”
The state of Rio de Janeiro has decreed that there will be three days of mourning following the tragedy at Urubu’s Nest.