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Chilean fire: Massive Christmas Eve fire destroys 120 homes in a seaside town

As of Wednesday, the fire, which was intensified by strong winds, consumed more than 120 homes in the popular tourist town, known for its vividly colored wooden houses. There were no reports of casualties.

“We have decided to decree a communal emergency, which will facilitate debris removal and reconstruction,” Sharp said in a tweet early Wednesday.

“In addition, we will file a complaint against those who are responsible for the obvious intentionality of this fire,” he added.

The effort to extinguish the fire continued through the morning. Helicopters doused the affected areas, and two schools were turned into shelters for residents who fled the blaze. According to the Associated Press, many of the homes in the low-income neighborhoods where the fire occurred had no running water at the time.

Chile has recently been battling its most severe drought in decades. In September, the country declared water shortages in more than 50 communities across three regions.

President Sebastián Piñera said in a statement posted on Twitter that emergency responders were fighting “tirelessly” to control the blaze in Valparaiso, one of the country’s largest cities and a major Pacific port.

“We deeply regret the fire that affects so many families in the hills of Valparaiso and especially on Christmas Eve,” he said.

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