SAO PAULO, (Xinhua) — The Sao Paulo Fire Department on Sunday called off its search for missing persons in the rubble of a high rising apartment building that collapsed earlier this month.
At least four people were killed after the building caught fire and collapsed on May 1 in the city center.
Marcio Franca, mayor of Sao Paulo, announced the end of the rescue efforts, saying it is now considered impossible to find anyone alive.
“We have no more expectations, we have done as much as we can,” the mayor told the press.
He said the rest of the bodies would have been almost completely charred due to the high temperature of the fire, adding that “it is common in this type of tragedy.”
The building was home to 372 people, most of them low-income families, with authorities believing that the fire began after a domestic fight.
The fire began in the early morning on May 1, before spreading rapidly throughout the building and leading to its collapse.
During the rescue efforts, four bodies were found, including those of two children. Around 40 people are still missing.
The mayor said that some 1,700 people had participated in the rescue work, and that the Sao Paulo City Hall will now have to decide what to do with the remains of the building.
The collapse also caused serious damage to three neighboring buildings, including a church.