The Slatest

An Enormous Fire Has Devoured the National Museum of Brazil

A large flame rises through the roof of the National Museum of Brazil.
Flames engulf the National Museum of Brazil. Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The 200-year-old National Museum of Brazil in Rio De Janeiro was engulfed in flames on Sunday night, the New York Times reports, as firefighters battled for hours to save the building and its collections. Footage from Latin American network TeleSUR shows the fire rising through the exposed roof beams of the gutted museum building, a former royal palace that has housed the museum collections since 1892:

No one is believed to have been injured in the fire, but the potential losses are still incalculable: The museum had important and irreplaceable natural history and archaeological holdings, including the largest collections of both Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts in Latin America, significant pre-Columbian holdings, and a wide and deep natural history collection including the region’s oldest human fossil and the Bendegó meteorite. President of Brazil Michel Temer tweeted that his country had lost “200 years of work, research and knowledge” and it was a “sad day for all Brazilians.”

The museum’s collections included more than 20 million items.