Photo: Fernando Botero
A fire destroyed half of painter and sculptor Fernando Botero’s vacation home in Rionegro, a city in the northwestern province of Antioquia, without any personal injuries to the painter or his wife, fire department spokesmen told Efe.
At the time of the blaze, which occurred Sunday night, the painter and his wife, Sophia Vari, were in the house, but were able to get out unharmed, fire department Lt. Elson Zuluaga said.
The painter and his wife are accustomed to spending certain times of the year in Rionegro, a city near Medellin, the capital of Antioquia.
“As soon as we got the call we rushed to the scene of the fire and saw that 50 percent of the house had gone up in flames, so we tried to stop the fire from reaching the painter’s studio to save the pictures that were there, and that we were able to remove,” Zuluaga said.
The fire apparently spread from the fireplace in the home to the walls of the building.
“It’s an old building and made of adobe, so the fire was spreading fast,” Zuluaga said.
The butler was injured in the blaze because “in his eagerness to help he hurt a knee and also inhaled gases from the fire,” so he was taken to a medical center in Rionegro where he is out of danger, the fire department officer said.
Material damage from the flames was estimated at close to 400 million pesos (some $200,000) by the authorities.