Schools close as toxic smoke cloud swirls over Santiago (VIDEOS) — Analysis
On Monday night, thick smoke rose from the sky over Santiago after an enormous fire at a northern factory. The locals were advised not to go outside and to keep their windows shut.
A fire broke out in an industrial building located in Quilicura, in the morning of Monday. Many warehouses were engulfed by flames, and a huge pillar of smoke was visible overhead in photos and videos shared on social media.
ATENCIÓN (06:40). Debido a incendio de proporciones en fábrica en Luis Olea a metros de @Vespucio_Norte al oriente, hay reducción de la capacidad vial en la vía local por presencia de vehículos de emergencia. Manténganse alerta a posibles cortes/desvíos #Quilicurapic.twitter.com/7zWi75is3c
— TransporteInforma Región Metropolitana De Santiago (@TTISantiago) November 29, 2021
It was easy to see the smoke from far, as it looked like the aftermath of an eruption. According to the Chilean Civil Aviation Agency, this didn’t interrupt operations at Santiago’s international airport, but local media reported that some flights arriving from the south had to be diverted.
Schools in Quilicura, as well as two other nearby communities were closed by the authorities due to the gravity of the situation. “All types of smoke are toxic, and the effect we’re going to have will depend on the level of exposure and concentration,” said Miguel Muñoz, a regional director of the National Emergency Office.
Residents were urged to shut their windows and contact the local hospital if they feel any discomfort. Traffic was diverted as emergency personnel tackled the fire. The factory area has been closed off.
It is not clear what caused the fire. Local media reports claim that carpets, construction materials and furniture were stored in the warehouses which caught on fire. Reports of any injuries have not been made.