Fire engulfs parts of Chile's Valparaiso port, 100 houses destroyed

VALPARAISO, Chile Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:29pm EDT

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VALPARAISO, Chile (Reuters) - A fire pushed by strong Pacific coast winds ripped through parts of the Chilean port city Valparaiso on Saturday, destroying at least 100 houses and causing the evacuation of thousands of residents as authorities battled the blaze.

People with minor injuries were seen near the fire but no deaths were reported and exports from the world's top copper producer, were unaffected.

The La Cruz and Las Canas neighborhoods were among the most affected by the blaze. Ambulance crews treated residents for smoke inhalation as the fire engulfed block after block.

"The weather is complicating the situation," emergency official Guillermo de la Mazza told reporters. "The wind is not doing us any favors. The evacuation is our top priority, along with controlling the fire itself."

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Antonio de la Jara; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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