Nearly 700 people in the southern Brazilian community of Mato Leitão have lost their jobs following a fire Tuesday morning that consumed nearly 90% of a local shoe factory.
A preliminary report from the Venâncio Aires Fire Department states that a short circuit in the air conditioning system is the suspected cause of the fire.
“Due to the company’s characteristics, this type of clothing uses a very high load of combustible materials,” fire department Lt. Luciano Machado Moraes told GAZ. “There are synthetic products and glue which made it possible for the flames to spread quickly.”
The plant passed its fire inspection last year and was not due for another review until 2024, Moraes said.
Nearly 190,000 liters of water were used to contain the spreading fire, he said. Firefighters were particularly concerned about protecting two cylinders containing 190 kilos of liquefied petroleum gas used for heating and fueling vehicles.
“An explosion could have occurred and the loses would have been much greater,” Moraes said.