Shocking moment huge landslide downs power lines and destroys historic 122 year-old Brazilian mansion in Unesco World Heritage Site city
- A 19th century mansion was destroyed by a landslide in Ouro Petro, a city the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais
- Authorities say the landslide was caused by the unstable soil at Morro da Forca cliff following intense rains that drenched the state recently
- The fire department and civil defense shut down the area surrounding the mansion about 40 minutes after inspecting and ruling it was unstable
- The two-story manor was built in 1890 and underwent extensive restorations between 2009 and 2010, but had been closed since 2012
- The city of Ouro Petro was placed on the Unesco world heritage list in 1980
Shocking footage captured by a drone showed the moment a 19th century mansion was wiped out by a landslide in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
The area surrounding the two-story home was cordoned off Thursday morning by the fire department in the historic city center of Ouro Preto about 40 minutes before an avalanche of rocks from the Morro da Forca crushed the neocolonial house and a warehouse on an adjacent property.
The Ouro Preto Municipal Civil Police reported no injuries or casualties, but locals are mourning the loss of the structure in the historic city, whose wealth of well-preserved architecture saw it named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1980.
According to the fire department, recent rain storms that drenched the region, including Ouro Preto where a resident was killed, caused significant structural problems at the cliff.
Drone footage captured the moment a 19th century mansion was destroyed Thursday by a landslide in Ouro Petro, a city in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais
The mansion was property of the Ouro Petro city hall. It went renovations between 2009 and 2010, but was closed in 2012 due to potential landslides
The Institute of National Historic and Artistic Heritage recognized the mansion as the first neocolonial building in the city Ouro Petro. Its interior is pictured
Fire department officials shut off the area after the landslide over concerns that instability on the grounds of Morro da Forca could also destroy a restaurant and hotel located next to the mansion site.
All residents near the cliff were removed from their homes until a comprehensive study of the cliff is completed.
‘The vegetation is natural, however it is insufficient to guarantee stability in case of similar movements,’ Ouro Preto Civil Defense geololist Charles Murta said, according to Brazilian online outlet G1. ‘What caused this movement was the declivity of the slope itself, the geological characteristics that are typical in the region and, what was most important, which we call the fault trigger, was the large volume of rain accumulated since December 26th.’
While no rain was on the forecast for Friday and Saturday, Ouro Preto is expected to receive substantial rainfall all of next week.
At least 16 roads have been closed off to traffic due to damage cause by rain.
‘(The heavy rains of the last few days) end up making the soil saturated with water, and this saturation can generate a mass movement even at a time when the rain is not happening,’ Minas Gerais Fire Department spokesman lieutenant Pedro Aikara said.
Aerial drone footage of the 19th century mansion that was crushed by a landslide on Thursday in Ouro Petro, Brazil
Another photo showing the fine parquet floor inside the neocolonial mansion, which has now been destroyed
The fire department was forced to cordon off the area about 40 minutes before a landslide destroyed a mansion and a warehouse
According to the Institute of National Historic and Artistic Heritage, the mansion was the first neocolonial building in Ouro Petro.
The land where the Baeta Neves manor was located was purchased in 1890 by a family before the residence was constructed two years later.
The Ouro Petro mansion was completed by 1892. The Institute of National Historic and Artistic Heritage listed the mansion as the first neocolonial building in Ouro Petro,
Interior of the 19th century mansion that was destroyed by the landslide in Ouro Preto, Brazil, on Thursday
The mansion underwent extensive restorations between 2009 and 2010, but had been closed since 2012.
‘(The mansion) had a beautiful ceiling, all padded, with hardwood, and now it has collapsed. It’s another piece of Ouro Preto’s memory that fades as a result of the rains’, said Margareth Monteiro, the municipal secretary of Culture and Tourism of Ouro Petro.
The city of Ouro Petro has been considered a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) since 1980.