ColombiaOne.comColombia newsLarge Fire Destroys Homes in Armenia, Colombia

Large Fire Destroys Homes in Armenia, Colombia

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Armenia fire Colombia
The fire in Armenia, Colombia affected a vulnerable sector of the population – Credit: Twitter/Alcaldía de Armenia

An impressive fire in a squatter settlement left more than 280 people displaced and around 60 homes of vulnerable individuals burned in the southern part of Armenia, Quindio. The fire started on Monday night, August 28, in areas known as Santander and Boyaca. The voracious flames quickly spread, strongly affecting the houses built on the mountain slope. Fortunately, there were no reported casualties.

Blow to a Particularly Vulnerable Area

Among those affected, 280 people were left homeless, including 94 minors. A total of 60 makeshift houses were completely destroyed, consumed by the flames.

Police, firefighters, and soldiers from the 8th Battalion of the National Army moved to respond to the emergency on the night of Monday to Tuesday. A total of 80 people were involved in extinguishing the fire and rescuing the victims. Among them, 20 were volunteers, according to the Civil Defense of Armenia.

No fatalities were reported, but the Secretary of Government of Armenia informed that several individuals were treated for inhaling toxic smoke, although only one person had to be taken to a medical facility for treatment.

The materials used in constructing many of the houses facilitated the rapid spread of the fire. In this regard, Mauricio Román, the president of the community action board of Santander neighborhood, told the media that in the squatter area where the emergency occurred, “none of the houses built with wood and bamboo were left.”

The Origin of the Fire is Unknown

Though the exact cause of the fire is currently unknown, the city’s Secretary of Government, Andrés Buitrago, pointed out that “possible causes of the fire could be related to negligence.” However, Buitrago emphasized that “the authorities still need to thoroughly investigate to provide an answer.”

The Army and members of the Civil Defense were responsible for evacuating the affected population and moving them to a safe location away from the flames. The special operation also involved Red Cross members and firefighters.

Armenia fire Colombia
The removal tasks began on Tuesday – Credit: Twitter/Defensa Civil Colombia

Authorities reported that soldiers from the disaster response platoon of the 8th combat engineers battalion arrived at the scene to “carry out control and mitigation tasks to completely extinguish the fire spots and prevent the fire from continuing; likewise, recover the belongings of the affected families,” as stated in the press release.

Furthermore, authorities confirmed that the neighbors will not be able to return to the area once mitigation tasks are complete, as it is a highly dangerous hillside and also an illegally constructed neighborhood.

Armenia fire Colombia
The debris removal tasks began on Tuesday, August 29 – Credit: Twitter/Ingenieros Militares

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