The National Museum of Rio has been gutted by a massive fire, setting ablaze over 20 million historical items.
Reports say most of the items, including the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas, are believed to have been destroyed.
The cause of the blaze is not known. No injuries have been reported too, the BBC said.
The museum, located in a building that once served as the residence for the Portuguese royal family, celebrated its 200th anniversary this year.
“I am particularly sad about Luzia, the oldest human fossil found in Brazil. She lived in south-central Brazil some 12,000 years ago and was such an important historical artifact. I can’t stand the fact that we lost her,” said Marina Amaral, a Brazilian historian.
She tweeted earlier that, “The worst part is that none of this can ever be replaced. Even the building where the museum was located was an important piece of Brazilian history. Really unbelievable.”
I am particularly sad about Luzia, the oldest human fossil found in Brazil. She lived in south-central Brazil some 12,000 years ago and was such an important historical artifact. I can't stand the fact that we lost her. pic.twitter.com/B8InTMLNcD
— Marina Amaral (@marinamaral2) September 3, 2018
Media reports say the fire began on Sunday afternoon.
Roberto Robadey, a spokesman for the Rio fire department, told the Associated Press news agency that the hydrants closest to the museum were not working and that firefighters had to get water from a nearby lake.
By Monday morning the fire was under control and some of the museum’s pieces had been rescued, he added.
I’m confused. Wouldn’t early humans in South America come from Asia thus looking Asian? Or would they be seafarers arriving from Africa? 🤔🤔🤔
— Tomas Dano (@fashionho) September 3, 2018