Every year, an event in Mar del Plata, Argentina, typically ends with a symbolic burning of a particular theme, such as politics or the environment. Unfortunately, this year, a strong gust of wind sent some of the embers flying, resulting in a fire that damaged the roof of the Central Casino, a cultural center and casino located in a historic building. Fortunately, the flames did not reach the rooms below, but firefighters worked to contain the blaze and prevent further destruction.
The complex, known as the Bustillo Complex, contains the casino, a local office of the casino commission, the Palace Sports gym, and other facilities. This incident has caused officials to question whether it is wise to hold the ceremony near such a historic structure.
Images captured by bystanders, shared by local media, showed how the wind pushed the embers from the burning figure in the ceremony toward the roof of the building and ignited the blaze. Firefighters from Mar del Plata worked to control the fire, but the high, pitched roof and limited access to it made it difficult for them. They had to use cranes to access the area on fire, and the fire crews had to remain on the scene throughout the night to monitor for any new outbreaks in the burned area.
The fire caused permanent damage to the roof, and when it is safe to inspect the damage, local authorities will decide how to proceed. They may attempt to get the same materials used in the building’s original construction almost 80 years ago.
The Valencian Fallas celebration, which has been taking place for more than 65 years, was this year themed “Construction or Deconstruction of the Environment.” To conclude the ceremony, the 12-meter-high (39-foot) Fallas statue was set ablaze, minus the pyrotechnics in accordance with regulations that came into effect in 2022. This type of burning is referred to as the cremá, and, although similar events have occurred without incident in the past, this year’s accident has prompted authorities to reconsider the statue’s design and the event’s location.