Caramel is great on a cake – but not so desirable when it’s swamping your town.
A fire in a warehouse in southern Brazil has melted over 30,000 tons of sugar, sending a river of molten treacle into a nearby town.
The factory – in Santa Adelia – saw one of its worst fires in history, after a spark from machinery powering a loading belt ignited sugar stored in the depot.
Firefighters struggled for more than 75 hours to bring the flames under control, and there are still worries that the damage could bring down the warehouse.
â€œThe fire consumed the entire warehouse, and firefighting teams worked to isolate a second depot by cooling the walls,â€ said Guilherme Raposo, chief executive of Agrovia.
Nearly 20 residents were moved out of their homes, and four people have apparently been injured by the super-hot syrup.
Barriers of earth have been piled in front of houses to try to prevent the sugary liquid from engulfing them.
Large suctioning machinery, tractors, JCB diggers and ditches are all being used to remove and control up the thick liquid.
â€œI am really worried about my home being invaded with this mess,â€ said Augusto Costa, a local builder.
â€œThe liquid is already around my house and I donâ€™t know how bad itâ€™s going to get.â€
As well as this, it is polluting the nearby river and destroying wildlife.
Jose Ferreira de Andrade, an engineer from the Environmental, Sanitation and Technology Company for Sao Paulo, said:”Yesterday, oxygen levels in the water were zero.
â€œThe product is not toxic, but because of its density it depletes the oxygen. So far we have already collected over 15kg of dead fish.”
The destruction of the sugar will cost approximately $130 million, as the Agrovia factory supplies 20 per cent of sugar to the state of Sao Paulo and exports 1.7 million tons worldwide.