MONTEVIDEO – No one was hurt Thursday when the roof of Uruguay’s iconic Cilindro arena collapsed as a result of a fire, authorities said.
Built in 1956 to house the first National Exhibition of Production, the Cilindro featured a roof in the shape of a funnel supported by turnbuckles.
The structure has been a sporting venue since 1967, when Montevideo hosted the World Basketball Championship.
The fire that broke out inside the Cilindro in the wee hours of Thursday caused the roof to collapse and did significant damage to the rest of the building.
“Several explosions were felt, the roof collapsed and the walls cracked,” municipal secretary Ricardo Prato said.
The Cilindro, which is owned by the city government, “suffered grave damage and the initial judgment is that it’s irreparable,” he said.
Firefighters are investigating the cause of the blaze, while municipal engineers are assessing the state of the arena.
“There is no hypothesis about how the fire started, and the explosions could have been due to the fall of the roof or interior compression,” Prato said in an improvised press conference outside the arena.
Police cordoned off the area around the Cilindro. EFE