On Saturday, April 12 a fire started in the cerros altos of Valparaiso and quickly spread due to winds, a dry climate and, in some areas, lack of water. The powerful fire raged on for more than 24 hours, destroying over 500 homes.
On Saturday evening, the power was cut in much of the city due to two electrical explosions related to the fire.
Chilean President announced the city of Valparaiso in a state of emergency and the military was called in to help protect the city and its citizens. Emergency vehicles arrived and are attending to the scene from all over the region — including Santiago.
As of Sunday mid-day, 11 people in total had been killed; over 10,000 people have been evacuated thus far.
Local churches, universities and schools are sheltering the displaced, distributing supplies and aiding the injured.
According to El Mundo, At approximately 4:30 p.m., the fire re-started along another part of the city. As of the writing of this post, it is still being combated by firefighters.
A man rushes across the street, speaking rapidly on the phone. Down the block, a donation center distributed clothes and supplies to the displaced.
One affected area has turned into a traffic jam as loved ones and friends reunite.
The view from central Valparaiso. The smoke of the fire could be seen from all parts of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso.
Just beyond the crowds, an open bed pickup truck rides off. It is filled with victims and volunteers traveling back up to the affected areas, in the cerros altos — the neighborhoods in the high hills.
Soldiers stand post, direct citizens.
A water tank for the public, a military truck and a pickup truck. After President Michele Bachelet announced a state of emergency for the city, the military was called in.
A resident looks on at the destruction. Her arm is scribbled with the digits of a number to contact her friend whose house was destroyed.
In an open area, cars park, generators are planted, and makeshift houses go up.
A helicopter flies overhead, bringing water, supplies. Emergency vehicles swarmed to the scene all day and night.
Valparaiso: the contrast between what is and is not.
According to a military personnel, the effects could take up to two years to recover from.
Staircases, in a way the backbone of Valparaiso’s cerros, exposed after the fire.
As people returned to their homes, the cerros sounded similar to construction sites. Crunching, crashing and shouts became the soundtrack for the day.
Victims dig through the foundations of their homes. More than 2000 acres of Valparaiso were burned in the fire.
Smoke still rising from the ruins, the cerros – hills – stand in ashes.
Some of the ru
The Urrea family where their home once stood. Their dog — a small black terrier — was killed in the fire.