Fire at Brazilian Youth Soccer Dormitory Kills 10
RIO DE JANEIRO — At least 10 people were killed on Friday when a fire tore through a dormitory for young players at a training center in Rio de Janeiro for one of South America’s biggest soccer teams, firefighters and club officials said.
The blaze at the Flamengo club broke out in the early morning when many youth players, ages 14 to 17, were asleep. Three other people were injured, one seriously, and they were taken to a nearby hospital, officials said.
Flamengo is one of Brazil’s most popular soccer clubs, and some of the country’s biggest stars have played there, including Ronaldinho, who represented the country in two World Cups — including when Brazil won the trophy in 2002 — and also played for several high-profile clubs abroad, including Barcelona and Milan.
The training center, called Ninho de Urubu, in the western part of the city, had recently undergone renovations. According to local news media, the dormitory was going to be torn down.
One of soccer’s most recent breakout stars, the Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior, who was developed in Flamengo’s youth ranks and lived at the academy, took to Twitter to express his horror at events there. He wrote that he was in shock and called for prayers.
Firefighters said they were alerted at 5:17 a.m. local time and were still on the scene later Friday morning. The cause of the fire was not yet known.
The tragedy is likely to renew focus on living conditions for young Brazilian soccer players, many of whom come from underprivileged backgrounds and live in dormitories like Flamengo’s across the vast country.