Burning high-rise occupied by squatters collapses in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Forty nine people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster on Tuesday only three were declared unaccounted for, including one man who was seconds from being successfully rescued by firefighters before the building suddenly crashed down.

Officials gave no indication whether the large number of missing were considered likely to have been killed and buried under the rubble, or whether they simply were not there at the time.

The building, a disused former police headquarters, was occupied by 146 homeless families, officials say, blaming a lack of even basic fire prevention measures for the speed and ferocity of the blaze. Officials have not said how they think it actually started.

For now rescue teams using search dogs were working slowly in the still hot wreckage, hoping to find someone alive. (AFP)

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<p>Firefighters try to extinguish a fire of a building that caught fire and collapsed in the center of Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 2, 2018. (Photo: Nacho Doce/Reuters) </p>
Forty nine people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire of a building that caught fire and collapsed in the center of Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 2, 2018. (Photo: Nacho Doce/Reuters)

<p>A girl from a homeless family, that was living in the building that caught on fire, sits on her mattress donated by well-wishers in front of a church at Largo do Paissandu Square in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 2, 2018. (Photo: Nacho Doce/Reuters) </p>
Forty nine people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

A girl from a homeless family, that was living in the building that caught on fire, sits on her mattress donated by well-wishers in front of a church at Largo do Paissandu Square in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 2, 2018. (Photo: Nacho Doce/Reuters)

<p>Smoke billows from an abandoned government building occupied by squatters that caught fire and collapsed early the day before, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, May 2, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP) </p>
Forty nine people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

Smoke billows from an abandoned government building occupied by squatters that caught fire and collapsed early the day before, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, May 2, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP)

<p>Homeless families that were living in the building that caught on fire, have lunch donated by well-wishers, next to a church at Largo do Painsandu Square in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 2, 2018. (Photo: Nacho Doce/Reuters) </p>
Forty nine people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

Homeless families that were living in the building that caught on fire, have lunch donated by well-wishers, next to a church at Largo do Painsandu Square in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 2, 2018. (Photo: Nacho Doce/Reuters)

<p>A major fire caused the collapse of a 24-storey building in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 1st May, 2018. (Photo: Cris Faga/NurPhoto via Getty Images) </p>
Forty nine people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

A major fire caused the collapse of a 24-storey building in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 1st May, 2018. (Photo: Cris Faga/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

<p>Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a building in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters) </p>
Forty nine people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a building in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters)

<p>Displaced occupants of a collapsed building sit and gather on the sidewalk in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP) </p>
Forty nine people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

Displaced occupants of a collapsed building sit and gather on the sidewalk in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP)

<p>Firefighters work at the scene of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP) </p>
Forty nine people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

Firefighters work at the scene of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP)

<p>Displaced occupants of a collapsed building sit on the sidewalk in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP) </p>
Forty nine people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building occupied by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

Displaced occupants of a collapsed building sit on the sidewalk in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP)

<p>Firefighters work in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Firefighters work in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP)

<p>Firefighters work in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Firefighters work in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP)

<p>Firefighter officers comfort a man near the site where a building collapsed in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Firefighter officers comfort a man near the site where a building collapsed in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters)

<p>Firefighters work in the aftermath and search for possible victims of the fire that struck two buildings in the center of the city of Sao Paulo, at dawn on May 1, 2018. (Photo: Paulo Lopes via ZUMA Wire) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Firefighters work in the aftermath and search for possible victims of the fire that struck two buildings in the center of the city of Sao Paulo, at dawn on May 1, 2018. (Photo: Paulo Lopes via ZUMA Wire)

<p>Firefighters work in the aftermath and search for possible victims of the fire that struck two buildings in the center of the city of Sao Paulo, at dawn on May 1, 2018. (Photo: Paulo Lopes via ZUMA Wire) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Firefighters work in the aftermath and search for possible victims of the fire that struck two buildings in the center of the city of Sao Paulo, at dawn on May 1, 2018. (Photo: Paulo Lopes via ZUMA Wire)

<p>Firefighters work in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Firefighters work in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP)

<p>Rescue workers along with sniffer dogs search for victims in a collapsed building in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Rescue workers along with sniffer dogs search for victims in a collapsed building in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters)

<p>Firefighters work in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Firefighters work in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP)

<p>Police officer comforts a woman near the site where a building collapsed in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Police officer comforts a woman near the site where a building collapsed in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters)

<p>Smoke raises form a building in fire in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Smoke raises form a building in fire in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters)

<p>Firefightera triy to extinguish a fire at a building in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Firefightera triy to extinguish a fire at a building in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters)

<p>A firefighter walks past the site of a building that collapsed in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

A firefighter walks past the site of a building that collapsed in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters)

<p>A firefighter tries to extinguish a fire at a building in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

A firefighter tries to extinguish a fire at a building in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters)

<p>Neighborhood residents watch firefighters working in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Neighborhood residents watch firefighters working in the the rubble of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP)

<p>Firefighters work at the scene of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Firefighters work at the scene of a building that caught fire and collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Andre Penner/AP)

<p>Flames from a building fire are seen in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

Flames from a building fire are seen in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil May 1, 2018. (Photo: Leonardo Benassatto/Reuters)

<p>In this photo released by Sao Paulo Fire Department, a building on fire is seen in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. A burning building in downtown Sao Paulo has collapsed as firefighters worked to put out a fire that began in the middle of the night. (Sao Paulo Fire Department via AP) </p>
Burning high-rise collapses

In this photo released by Sao Paulo Fire Department, a building on fire is seen in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. A burning building in downtown Sao Paulo has collapsed as firefighters worked to put out a fire that began in the middle of the night. (Sao Paulo Fire Department via AP)

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