The tragedy in 1974 shocked the world when Joelma Building in Sao Paulo, Brazil turned into a towering inferno.
Joelma Building proudly stood along Avenida 9 de Julho, 225. But in February 1, at 8:50 am people noticed smokes from the 12th floor window. Within minutes, the fire spread rapidly engulfing the building.
More than 700 people in the building scrammed for exits with 500 people who got out to safety. However, as the smoke rising through the structure, the rest found themselves trapped above the ground level. Around 170 reached the roof top but the heat reached 700 º C. It was too dangerous for rescue helicopters to land. To flee from the fire, 40 people leaped from the building. Everyone who attempted a free-fall from the roof died.
After few hours of great effort from the fire department, the flames finally subsided. Police, firefighters and rescue entered the building to look for survivors and to count the dead. They came across a sealed elevator. They forced open the door and what greeted the officers was unspeakable. An accumulation of bodies scorched and burned stacked on the floor and around the walls.
The bodies partially melded due to the heat in the metal box. The officers counted 13 victims. The saddest part was that no one can identify the 13 bodies and no one claimed them. Left with no choice, authorities buried the charred bodies side by side in St. Peter’s Cemetery. They are known as the Thirteen Souls.
After several years from the tragic incident, Joelma building was repaired, remodeled and reopened as the ‘Praça da Bandeira’.
Guests and occupants of the Praça da Bandeira reported paranormal activities and sinister presence in the building. In the upper floors of the fifteenth, ghostly apparitions are common. Shadows walk past the walls. Fire alarms goes off on its own and elevators malfunction without reasons. They have also claimed that there are really angry dark presences.
As of the Thirteen Souls, people claimed that they performed miracles. Residents of São Paulo and many parts of the country value the graves of 13 as a blessed place.