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São Paulo cultural center Memorial da América Latina catches fire, engulfed in smoke

São Paulo's Memorial da América Latina cultural center caught fire just before 1:30 p.m. local time on Friday, with 55 fire trucks on the scene trying to put out the blaze.

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São Paulo's Memorial da América Latina cultural center caught fire just before 1:30 p.m. local time on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 with 21 fire trucks on the scene trying to put out the blaze. (Globo.com/Screengrab)

SAO PAULO, Brazil — São Paulo's Memorial da América Latina cultural center caught fire just before 1:30 p.m. local time on Friday, with 55 fire trucks on the scene trying to put out the blaze.

According to firefighters, the fire was under control by 6:20 p.m. and there have been no deaths as a result of the fire at the massive center and auditorium, located in the central neighborhood of Barra Funda.

Military Police Major Mauro Lopes said eight military firefighters and one civil firefighter were injured while working to put out the fire. Two of the military firefighters went to hospital with serious, but not life-threatening, burns, while the other six were treated for smoke inhalation. The civil firefighter received burns to his ear.

The center is a cultural and leisure complex that's also home to the Latin American parliament, although the latter was undamaged, the Associated Press reported.

A giant tapestry panel located in one of the center's auditorium where the fire started is expected to be destroyed, but 100-year-old artist Tomie Ohtake said she will remake the piece.

While the center is located next to the Barra Funda subway and train station, the fire has not affected service.

Dark grey and white smoke continues to billow out of the building, causing visibility difficulties for firefighters trying to put the fire out.

Firefighters have also confirmed that fire hydrants on site are not working.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/brazil/131129/sao-paulo-cultural-center-memorial-da-america-latina-catches-fire