10 players dead after fire razes dormitory

Jo Caldwell
February 9, 2019

A fire at the training centre of Rio de Janeiro soccer club Flamengo has left ten people dead and injured at least three others, firefighters have said.

Brazilian clubs often provide accommodations to players from outside the city, although local sports columnist Juca Kfouri told The New York Times that living conditions are historically "atrocious".

The fire reportedly broke out as players were sleeping.

Six of the victims were young players and four were employees at Ninho de Urubu, the training ground of Flamengo football club in Rio de Janeiro, local media reported.

Firefighters were called just after 5 a.m.to the sprawling Ninho de Urubu training grounds in Rio de Janeiro's western region. The ages of the injured were 14, 15 and 16, according to a fire official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of agency rules.

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Reuters said the club spent 23 million reais (around $6 million) to renovate the training center a year ago.

Like many professional clubs in soccer-crazed Brazil, Flamengo has a youth development program for promising young players in their early teens. "Thank God I managed to run and I'm still alive".

The club took to Twitter to announce that it "is in mourning" over the tragic incident.

Outside the complex, an AP reporter saw two ambulances and a fire truck enter.

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Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior, who trained at the centre while being a part of Flamengo's youth academy before moving to Spain, tweeted: "What sad news!"

As news of the fire broke, several teams and players expressed their condolences on Twitter.

Known by fans as the red-and-black, they won the Copa Libertadores, South America's version of the Champions League, in 1981 and lifted the Intercontinental Cup a few months later. But rival teams across Brazil, including fellow Rio sides Botafogo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama, tweeted their solidarity.

Messages to Flamengo officials were not immediately answered.

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