44 missing after Sao Paulo tower block collapses in blazing inferno

Forty-four people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building used by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

There was no indication whether the large number of missing were considered likely to have been killed and buried under the rubble, or whether they simply were not there at the time.

The building, a disused former police headquarters, was occupied by 146 homeless families, officials say, blaming lack of even basic fire prevention measures for the accident.

Officials have not given a specific cause for the blaze.

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