Fire destroys Viradouro's carnival float
Poor Viradouro. After two decades in the top group of Rio carnival, the samba school was demoted last year. In the special group, samba schools have a barracao in the Cidade do Samba, a purpose built collection of modern large warehouse spaces where the schools can build their carnival floats and make their costumes. These are the barracoes.
All the other samba schools have to find whatever space they can to house their barracaos. It has to be near to where they are to parade, as the floats are too big and fragile to be transported far once they are almost ready. Before the City of Samba was built, all of the top samba schools had their barracao in the old disused warehouses between the port and the sambodromo. Fires were frequent. The schools of grupo A and B had ever more rickety space in ever more precarious buildings.
When Viradouro was demoted, they lost their shiny new space in the Cidade do Samba, and up to now they haven't found a new one. Although the samba schools build new floats every year, they keep the framework of the old floats - its very expensive to have to start from scratch, with wheels, axles and ironwork. Viradouro has been storing their floats in a corner of someone else's barracao. But now one of them is completely destroyed through fire. Fortunately nobody was hurt.
Viradouro was demoted because of their poor showing last year. This was a result of lack of money, bad organisation and internal political problems. The old president has resigned and last week a new one was elected. He has his work cut out!