245 houses affected by Chilean coastal city fire
At least 245 houses have been destroyed or damaged by a fire in the coastal Chilean city of Valparaiso, Jorge Martinez Duran, administrative head of the Valparaiso Region, said late Wednesday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
The fire, which broke out Tuesday night, is already "in the control phase," Martinez Duran said at a press conference.
Authorities believed that the fire was caused by arson, and have launched a search for suspects, Martinez Duran added.
The fire triggered the declaration of an alert by the federal government on Tuesday, with firefighters being mobilized to control the blaze as residents in the poor neighborhood fled their homes on Christmas Eve.
According to local media reports, authorities have erected two temporary shelters for those affected.
The flames have burned an area of 140 hectares (1.4 square km) of land by far, local media said.
Valparaiso, one of Chile's largest cities, is known for its bohemian, artistic vibe and lovely vistas.