Edifício Wilton Paes de Almeida

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Edifício Wilton Paes de Almeida
Centro, São Paulo - State of São Paulo, Brazil - panoramio (1).jpg
The building in 2015
General information
Coordinates23°32′31.9″S 46°38′16.3″W / 23.542194°S 46.637861°W / -23.542194; -46.637861Coordinates: 23°32′31.9″S 46°38′16.3″W / 23.542194°S 46.637861°W / -23.542194; -46.637861
Construction started1961[1]
Technical details
Floor count24[2]
Edifício Wilton Paes de Almeida building collapse
Edifício Wilton Paes de Almeida fire (May 2018) 10.jpg
The building collapsed on 1 May 2018
Date1 May 2018
LocationSão Paulo, Brazil
Deaths7; 2 missing[3]

The Wilton Paes de Almeida Building (Portuguese: Edifício Wilton Paes de Almeida) was a high-rise building in Largo do Paiçandu, São Paulo, Brazil, that was built in the 1960s. It was listed as a historic building in 1992. It was the headquarters of the Federal Police in São Paulo from the 1980s until 2003, after which it was occupied by squatters. It caught fire and collapsed on 1 May 2018, causing at least 7 fatalities.


The modernist building was designed by Roger Zmekhol. It was built between 1961 and 1968 by Morse & Bierrenbach. It occupied a plot of 650 m2 (7,000 sq ft), with around 12,000 m2 (130,000 sq ft) of internal space. The structure of the building was metal with concrete slabs. It was located at 22 Rua Antonio de Godói in the República area of São Paulo,[1] adjacent to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of São Paulo.[4] It had 24 floors.[2]

It was one of the first buildings in São Paulo with a glass façade,[2] with air conditioning built in to keep the façade clear. It had a marble and stainless steel hall.[5] The building was considered a property of historical, architectural and landscape interest, which guaranteed the preservation of its external characteristics. In 1992 it was listed by CONPRESP (Portuguese: Conselho Municipal de Preservação do Patrimônio Histórico, Cultural e Ambiental da Cidade de São Paulo, Municipal Council for the Preservation of Historic, Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the City of São Paulo).[2]

The building was initially owned by businessman and politician Sebastião Paes de Almeida, and housed various companies. Debts meant that the building was taken over[6] by the federal government.[5] It housed the headquarters of the Federal Police in São Paulo between the 1980s and 2003, and was also the headquarters of INSS (Instituto Nacional do Seguro Social)[2] before being abandoned[1] and occupied by squatters. It was put up for sale in 2015 for around R$20 million.[2]

Fire and collapse[edit]

The fire started on the fifth floor at 4.20am GMT (1.20am local time) at first hours of 2 May 2018 (late night of 1 May, May Day holiday), and the building collapsed 90 minutes later. The cause of the fire was a short-circuit in a power extension that had microwave, TV and refrigerator connected on it, on 5th floor.[7] The fire spread to an adjacent building, which was not in danger of collapse.[8] The central part of the adjacent Evangelical Lutheran Church of São Paulo was also destroyed during the collapse of the building.[4]

At the time of the fire, 372 people (146 families) were occupying the building.[9] Makeshift wooden living structures helped to spread the fire throughout the building, with the empty shafts where lifts had formerly been acting like a chimney.[10] Around 160 firefighters attended the scene.[11] At least one person died,[10] who was being rescued using a steel rope when the building collapsed.[8] The exact number of deaths and injuries are still unknown since the building was mostly occupied by hundreds of homeless squatters. Initially, the fire was thought to have been caused by a gas explosion.[10]

As of 18 May, 2 residents of the building were still missing.[3] The first body was found on 4 May, with six people missing.[12] The building had recently been surveyed, and no structural risk had been reported; this investigation was reopened after the collapse, along with a new inspection of 70 other buildings in São Paulo.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d "Arquivo Arq". Arquivo Arq (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Edifício Wilton Paes de Almeida: prédio que desabou em SP foi projetado na década de 1960 e era patrimônio histórico". G1 (in Portuguese).
  3. ^ a b "Polícia identifica mais três vítimas de desabamento de prédio no centro de SP - Notícias - Cotidiano". Cotidiano (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  4. ^ a b "'Praticamente sobrou o altar e a torre', diz pastor sobre igreja atingida pelos escombros de prédio no Centro de SP". G1 (in Portuguese).
  5. ^ a b "Edifício com cenário digno da série 'Mad Men' está abandonado | São Paulo nas Alturas". VEJA SÃO PAULO (in Portuguese). Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Edifício Wilton Paes de Almeida". SAMPA HISTÓRICA (in Portuguese). 22 December 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Curto-circuito no 5º andar deu início ao incêndio no prédio do Largo do Paiçandu". estadao.com.br (in Portuguese). 4 May 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Vídeo mostra desabamento de prédio que pegou fogo em São Paulo". O Globo (in Portuguese). 1 May 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Bombeiros dizem que 49 pessoas ainda não foram localizadas após incêndio no Centro de SP". G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "Brazil fire: São Paulo building collapses in huge blaze". BBC News. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Residential tower block collapses after huge fire rips through building". Metro. 1 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Primeiro corpo encontrado é de homem que resgatou vítimas". R7.com (in Portuguese). 4 May 2018.