MEDELLIN, Colombia – Nine people were hurt on Friday when a fire swept through a hillside shantytown in Medellin, the mayor of this northwestern Colombian metropolis said.
Nearly a dozen engines and 76 firefighters were needed to bring the blaze under control, Federico Gutierrez said.
The fire broke out in the lower portion of the Moravia community and spread quickly among the mainly wooden dwellings, the mayor said.
There has been no report of fatalities, he said, though acknowledging that first responders were still trying to compile a list of inhabitants and determine how many homes were destroyed.
Residents were being treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
Many families “lost everything they had,” Gutierrez said.
The fire erupted “in a matter of seconds,” Moravia resident Maria Elena Suarez told EFE, praising a police officer for rescuing her niece’s 3-year-old child from a burning shack.
“They say that this is a time-bomb, because it was a garbage dump before,” Suarez said.