Chile firefighters pull bodies from rubble as blaze death toll hits 122
VINA DEL MAR: (Reuters) The death toll from wildfires raging across central Chile hit 122 as helicopters dumped tons of water on blazes and emergency crews told Reuters they were still finding bodies buried in the wreckage three days after the fires took hold.
The toll from Chile‘s worst natural disaster in years was expected to climb further as residents, firefighters and military raced to clear rubble in residential areas of the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar where fireballs consumed houses within minutes.
“It’s like a war zone, as if a bomb went off,” said Jacqueline Atenas, 63, who fled her home in nearby Villa Independencia on Friday, returning to the wreckage on Monday carrying a small pink backpack, the only thing she had been able to save.
“It burned like someone was throwing gasoline on the houses. I don’t understand what happened… There was a lot of wind, a lot of wind, and big balls of fire that would fly by.”
Down the street, Luis Parra said he was barely able to escape with his wife and grandchildren.