10,000 Evacuated After Fire in Chilean Port City

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated after a fire in Chile's port city Valparaiso killed 11 people and destroyed more than 500 homes.

The fire began Saturday afternoon and spread quickly over 2,000 acres due to strong winds. President Michelle Bachelet put the army in charge of the evacuation after declaring the city a disaster zone, saying "It's a tremendous tragedy. This could be the worst fire in the city's history." Fernando Reseio, fire superintendent in neighboring city Vina del Mar, agrees, saying that it has been "one of the worst fires in history."

1,250 firefighters, police officers, and forest rangers attempted to control the fire, which was contained to the city's hills, while 2,000 Chilean sailors patrolled streets to maintain order. Many of the survivors have suffered burns, and hospitals have treated hundreds of people for breathing problems due to smoke inhalation.

Ricardo Bravo, the regional governor, spoke to the AP, saying: "This is the worst catastrophe I've seen. Now we have to make sure the fire doesn't reach the city center, which would make this emergency much more serious."

[Image credit: AP]