Annual Celebration in Argentina Goes Awry When Casino Catches Fire

Estimated read time 3 min read

A routine celebration held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, annually almost turned into a complete disaster. The ceremony includes the symbolic burning of a characterized theme, such as politics or the environment. This year, wayward embers caught the roof of a historic building that houses a culture center and casino on fire.

The fire-damaged roof of the Central Casino in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Wind may have caused embers from a fire during a celebration to ignite the roof. (Image: La Nacion)

The fire destroyed a sector of the roof of the Central Casino in Mar del Plata, but did not reach the rooms located below. Local media outlets reported that only minor water damage occurred as firefighters worked to control the flames.

The complex, known locally as the Bustillo Complex, houses the casino, a local office of the casino commission, the Palace Sports gym and others. While holding the ceremony close to a historic structure makes sense on one hand, the fire is now leading local officials to wonder if they should move it.

Erasing a Piece Of History

The images bystanders captured, shared by local media, show how the wind lets loose already embers from the burning figure in the ceremony. Some of those made their way to the roof of the historic building and ignited the blaze.

Firefighters from around Mar del Plata arrived to tackle the blaze. The type of structure, with its high, pitched roof and limited access, made it difficult for them to access the sector on fire, reported Civil Defense sources.

With cranes arranged in place as part of the prevention operation, the firefighters arrived with hoses to control and encircle the fire. Others made their way to a terrace, which they accessed by a theater elevator.

The six fire crews that worked the scene had to continue all night, putting up an “ash guard” to monitor the possible emergence of new outbreaks in the burned area. Eight hours later, the fire was under control, but the images show permanent damage to the roof.

Once it’s safe to inspect the damage closely, local authorities will figure out how to proceed. They may try to source the same material used from the building’s original construction almost 80 years ago.

History Takes A Wrong Turn

The Valencian Fallas celebration is organized every year by the Valencian Regional Union in Mar del Plata. The 69th edition of the festival, as in previous years, was taking place in front of Colon Plaza. It’s a celebration with a message of cultural awareness that has been taking place for more than 65 years, always with different themes and structures.

This year, in its 69th edition, the theme was “Construction or deconstruction” of the environment. To bring the ceremony to a close, the 12-meter-high (39 feet) Fallas statue was set on fire. It didn’t include pyrotechnics, in accordance with regulations that took effect in 2022, but culminated in a proxy light show.

However, the statue was lit on fire, as always. It’s what the locals refer to as the cremá, a type of cremation of the theme being displayed.

The statue is always made of wood, paper and other combustible materials, but there haven’t been incidents like this in the past. It only takes one accident to alter the course of history, though, and the statue’s design and event location are now up for debate.

The post Annual Celebration in Argentina Goes Awry When Casino Catches Fire appeared first on