Xuxa Park Fire
The Xuxa Park Fire was a flash fire that erupted on a Brazilian TV soundstage in Rio de Janeiro during a 2001 taping of the children's television show Xuxa Park. Although there were no casualties, the fire disaster caused Xuxa Park to be permanently cancelled 2 days later. The cause of the fire came from the stage lights inside the mechanical spaceship overheating and burst into flames. The incident was captured on videotape.
On January 11, 2001, a taping of Xuxa Park was in progress on a soundstage of the Brazilian network Rede Globo with a live audience of about 300 people (most of whom were children) in attendance. As Xuxa and her dancers were performing a show-closing musical number with the music Ilariê, a small fire started in the set's mechanical spaceship (through which Xuxa would normally have exited the stage in another two minutes). For few seconds, they continued their musical number, unaware of what was happening behind them. An alert stagehand quickly appeared with a small fire extinguisher and attempted to extinguish the flames, but suddenly the fire erupted violently, engulfing the spaceship and he was forced to retreat as others on stage also began to flee. The fire grew and spread quickly and intensively as children, dancers, stagehands, and audience members fled towards the exits to escape the fire, smoke, and melting plastic. Within less than a minute, the entire set was engulfed in flames. Children were removed from the Ferris Wheel, which was a part of the scenery. The only one who failed to get out was Thamires Gomes Valleja. Leonilson de Oliveira, Xuxa's bodyguard, came back to remove her.
Though camera operators and other technicians fled with the others, the cameras continued to operate and feed the videotape machines as the conflagration grew before the cameras were pulled out of the burning soundstage by staff. The footage was shown frequently on Brazilian news shows for days after the fire.
Although no one died as a result of the fire (which was ultimately attributed to an electrical short circuit), many were treated for minor smoke inhalation, and four individuals were seriously injured by smoke inhalation and burns. These included Leonilson (nick-named Léo), Xuxa's personal bodyguard, the show's resident clown Topetão and two of the children. The two men helped save many of the children (including one who had become stuck in one of the on-set rides). All eventually recovered from their injuries.
Xuxa, who was not injured, nevertheless was strongly affected by the fire, and reportedly spent quite some time afterwards in a deep depression. She visited the fire victims and their families in the hospital frequently. Xuxa Park was ultimately cancelled and was replaced by Festival de Desenhos on January 13, 2001 (second video below). For a time, Xuxa felt unable to perform at all, especially with children. Eventually, she recovered from her malaise and returned to the public eye.