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Body found in ruins of Sao Paulo building collapse

Police officers look as firefighters work to extinguish the fire in a building that collapsed after catching fire in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 1, 2018
AFP

Sao Paulo (AFP) – Rescue workers in Sao Paulo on Friday found a body in the rubble of a 24-story apartment building used by homeless squatters which caught fire and collapsed earlier this week.

The man was the first of what officials say are six people believed to be missing in Tuesday’s collapse.

Counts have been complicated because the building, a disused police headquarters in the center of Brazil’s biggest city, was occupied by scores of homeless families. As many as 45 more people have not been accounted for, but it is not clear whether they were even in the building at the time.

The Sao Paulo fire department, which has been working with sniffer dogs, said on Twitter that the first body found had numerous tattoos and a safety harness.

This indicated he was a resident of the building who was caught on camera being pulled down by the falling building despite having put on a harness and being seconds from being plucked to safety by a firefighter.

There were 146 families living in the building, which officials say lacked even elementary fire safety features.

On Thursday, Sao Paulo’s security chief Magino Alves, said the fire started after a short circuit.

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