Brazilian police rule out criminal offence as they complete investigation into 2018 National Museum fire

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Police say the fire that destroyed much of the museum's 20-million-artifact collection likely started with an air conditioning unit inside an auditorium near the front entrance

In this Sept. 2, 2018, file photo, flames engulf the 200-year-old National Museum of Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro.Brazil’s Federal Police on Monday wrapped up an investigation into a 2018 fire at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro that destroyed much of its 20-million-artifact collection, and ruled out any criminal offence.

The police also said museum directors’ conduct did not constitute neglect, given efforts underway to bring the building up to fire code. It was more than two centuries old.The National Museum housed furniture and art belonging to the royal family, recordings of Indigenous languages – some of which are no longer spoken – priceless specimens of everything from rare butterflies to coral and a collection of Egyptian mummies and artifacts considered the largest in Latin America.

The building was once a royal palace that served as the seat of the united Portuguese and Brazilian empire before the museum’s collection was transferred there in 1892. Today the colonial-era facade is a burned-out shell that is fenced off for reconstruction.

 

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if negligence is a crime, then it was a crime anyway

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