Rio de Janeiro - One person was killed in a spectacular fire that broke out in a fuel depot on the northern edge of Rio de Janeiro and spread to nearby homes, officials said.
Six giant fuel containers at the storage site caught fire, sending giant flames up to 50m leaping into the air and columns of thick smoke far into the sky that could be seen miles away.
The victim was a 43 year-old man who worked at the site, owned by Petrogold fuel distributors. He was rushed to the hospital with 90% of his body burned but died soon after, local media reported.
The fire broke out just after 11:00, and about an hour later spread to the nearby homes.
Fire-fighters cleared out a four-block radius around the fuel depot, located in Duque de Caxias on the northern edge of metropolitan Rio. There were homes and a school within the evacuated area, said deputy Civil Defense secretary Jerry Pires.
Duque de Caxias Mayor Alexandre Cardoso ordered an investigation.
"It is unacceptable to locate a time bomb in places were people live and study," Cardoso said.
According to officials with the state of Rio de Janeiro, Petrogold had no environmental license to operate, and had already been raided by federal police. The site was operating only because its case was being appealed in court.
Rio de Janeiro next month will be one of the sites for the Confederations Cup, a dry run for next year's football World Cup.
In July the city will also welcome Pope Francis and some 2.5 million people for World Youth Day, a major Roman Catholic Youth festival.
And Rio de Janeiro will also host the 2016 Summer Olympics.