Chile is set to declare a national emergency after an explosion in a chimney at a home in a Spanish village destroyed three people and left the roof caved in.
The chimney on the roof of the village in the coastal town of Chilpancingo, in the south-eastern province of Araucania, blew up around 1:30pm local time (16:30 GMT) and destroyed the home, a family of four, as well as the chimney.
“The fire was set in the chimneys with a propane stove and the roof was caved.
There were no casualties,” said local police chief Jose Manuel Villanueva.
Villanuela said that fire-fighting equipment would be sent to the scene to help with the rescue operation.
The village, located at a distance of about 30km (19 miles) from Santiago, has been on the outskirts of the capital, Santiago, since September, and it is the first time in decades that a fire has occurred there.
A fire at a house in Chile’s coastal town, Chilpin, on August 29, 2018.
The incident was not linked to a political incident, Villanuesa added.
Chile has been under a state of emergency since March 2017 and the country is currently experiencing a number of fires.
In June, a house was burned down in a rural area in the northern state of Algarve, killing one person.
Villansuela also said that the village had received several calls from people who had lost loved ones in the disaster.
“They want us to assist with their relatives and friends,” he said.
Local authorities have also appealed for people with information about the fire to come forward.
The authorities are expected to announce the details of the investigation in the coming days.
“We will try to determine the cause of the fire and then start an investigation to determine whether there is a need to rebuild,” said Villanueda.
The fire broke out in the evening on Monday after a propylene torch used to heat a cooking gas cylinder exploded.
A spokesman for the state fire service told the Reuters news agency that it was believed that the fire was caused by a gas cylinder being used to cool a cooking fuel.
The fuel used to cook gas can be dangerous because of its high density, and the explosion was likely caused by an electric current being passed through it.
The spokesman also said the fire appeared to be confined to the chimny and that the cause was under investigation.
A local resident, Carlos Aguilar, told La Nacion newspaper that he was watching a television news report when the blaze broke out and was startled to see a large plume of smoke rise from the chimpy.
“I was watching the news and I heard the sound of the explosion,” Aguilar said.
“My house is on the other side of the chimpiy and I thought that the explosion must have happened there because I saw the smoke.
I ran out and tried to put out the fire, but the fire spread.”
The fire was so strong that it forced the evacuation of the neighbouring village of Córdoba, which was evacuated as a precaution.
Villasuela did not provide any details on the number of people who lost their lives or the injuries that occurred during the blaze.
“It was a very difficult situation for the families who lost relatives,” he told the newspaper.
Villanosuela urged residents of nearby villages to stay at home and avoid travelling to the area.
He said the residents would be monitored and provided with protection.