Firefighters battle massive blaze at Brazil museum

Firefighters battle massive blaze at Brazil museum

"Today, is a tragic day for the museology of our country, two hundred years of work, research and knowledge were lost".

Flames tearing through the 200-year-old National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. The building houses more than 20 million historical artefacts, not just from Brazil but also Egypt, Greece and Rome's ancient civilizations.

Fire fighters in northern Rio de Janeiro continued to battle the blaze into the early hours.

It is not yet clear if anyone has been injured in Sunday's fire.

He added: "The value of our history can not be measured by the damage to the building".

The museum, which is tied to the Rio de Janeiro federal university and the Education Ministry, was founded in 1818.

The museum had suffered from years of neglect under numerous governments, the institution's vice-director the Globo TV network on Sunday night.

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The building served as a palace for the Portuguese Royal Family and later for the Brazilian Imperial Family.

"Everybody wants to be supportive now".

A woman reacts during a fire at the National Museum of Brazil.

"We never got anything from the federal government", said the official, Luiz Duarte.

Brazil has struggled to emerge from its worst recession in decades. The state of Rio de Janeiro has been particularly hard hit in recent years thanks to a combination of falling world prices of oil, one of its major revenue sources, mismanagement and massive corruption.

The museum has thousands of items related to the history of Brazil.

Sgt. Moises Torres from the state's firefighting headquarters said firefighters were working to put out the blaze.

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