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Fire Engulfs Rio's Carnival Center

Smoke billows from a fire raging through warehouses of a samba school, where floats, costumes and props of the Rio Carnival are made and kept, in Samba City, Rio de Janeiro, February 7, 2011

A massive fire has swept through a warehouse district in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, where costumes and floats used in the city's famed Carnival are made and stored.

An official for the organizers of the annual festivities said the fire Monday was a tremendous loss. Most of the Carnival groups were nearly ready for the parades that are set to begin next month.

A large plume of black smoke was seen above the Sambadrome, where the parade takes place. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists attend the festivities in Rio, the biggest Carnival in Brazil.