Inspector to probe fire at Brazil World Cup stadium

Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:05am EST
 
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By Brian Winter

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - An independent inspector will look into possible structural damage caused by an October fire at a World Cup stadium in western Brazil, following a Reuters report that the blaze was far worse than government officials have previously said.

The inspector, whose visit to the stadium in the city of Cuiabá was already scheduled for Monday, will report his findings back to world soccer body FIFA and Brazilian officials, FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said by telephone on Sunday.

"We're looking into the allegations" that the fire caused structural damage to the stadium, Fischer said.

Reuters reported on Saturday that the October 25 fire at the still-unfinished Arena Pantanal caused structural damage that could "compromise the overall stability of the construction," according to a previously undisclosed report by state prosecutors in Mato Grosso state.

The 18-page document, which was written in December based on an inspection by a local civil engineer, contains photos that it says are of cracked concrete in the stadium's pillars as well as less severe damage to its steel frame.

It is unclear whether the damage described in the report has since been fixed. State government officials overseeing construction of the stadium have continued to describe the fire as minor, saying it caused no structural damage.

Federal prosecutors said last week they were opening their own investigation into the fire based on the state prosecutors' report. FIFA said it was previously "unaware" of any structural damage at the facility.

Arena Pantanal is one of 12 stadiums due to host games when the World Cup kicks off on June 12. The stadium missed a December deadline to complete construction, although state officials say it will be finished next month.   Continued...

 
A view of the construction of the Arena Pantanal soccer stadium, which will host several matches of the 2014 World Cup, in Cuiaba, February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Winter