By R. Robles ( | First Posted: Jan 17, 2016 10:38 PM EST

Caption:RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - APRIL 22: A firefighter awaits water pressure to put out fires set by protesters following shootings in the pacified Pavao-Pavaozinho community, just blocks from Copacabana Beach, on April 22, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Protests and shootings broke out following the discovery of dancer Douglas Rafael da Silva's body, who protesters allege was beaten by police, in the pacified 'favela'. Violent protests broke out resulting in the shooting death of a man. (Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A series of unfortunate events?

Brazil is not having the best of luck in the past few months -- environmentally speaking. 

Last September 2014, the state of Minas Gerais had to address a dam collapse at a detached iron ore mine which caused a landslide resulting to three human casualties.

A few months later, in April 2015, a fuel storage facility near Santos caught fire which lasted for nine days causing a suspension of a thick black smoke in the sky.

However, Brazil's "worst environmental disaster" occurred when, in the same state of Minais Gerais, a dam holding waste water from an iron broke and killed at least 13 people. More than that, the mud from the incident eventually reached the Atlantic Ocean contaminating it with toxic substances like mercury, arsenic, chromium and manganese.

Not more than a few days ago, chemical explosion occurred in Guaruja, the country's largest port located in Santos spreading toxic gas in the nearby areas, according to a report by Reuters.

The fire was reported by the local fire department to have been extinguished two days after the chemical containers caught fire, exploded and "sent poisonous gases into the sky."

BBC notes that the containers were found to be "full of acid and a disinfectant." The two chemicals apparently were not compatible with rainwater which seeped into the containers causing a life-threatening chemical reaction.

Localfrio, a logistics company in Guaruja - located on the east of Santos, Sao Paolo - was reported to be the owner and operator of the containers. Reuters reports that more than a hundred people were sent to the hospital after they inhaled toxic smoke. The same report also points to Localfrio as to why the commodity-carrying trucks were unable to access the east area of the port.

Localfrio exports chemicals used for refrigeration and general cargo. The company spokeswoman, as told by BBC, said that the containers "were filled with chloric acid and sodium dichloroisocyanurate - a cleaning and disinfectant agent." Firefighters in the area also identified rainwater, which combined with the chemicals, as the main culprit. Mayor Mario Antonieta de Brito, the local authority figure, cautioned the citizens to stay out of the rain as it may "contain chemical elements that can burn the skin."

The Guaruja fire had been extinguished. However, smoke is still enveloping the scene. Nearby homes including the cargo area were evacuated. Moreover, residents living near the port were asked to remain inside their homes. At least 66 people were recorded to be sent to the hospital due to breathing difficulties, according to BBC.


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