Around 11pm local time on Friday night, a massive fire swept through the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Santiago del Estero Province, Argentina. The venue is best known for hosting MotoGP but has also been the locale for World Touring Car Championship events.
The fire took place in the paddock area of the track, where the Juan Manuel Fangio museum is also located.
Argentinian journalist Leonardo Regueira shared video tweets of the incident. His initial tweet read as follows (translated):
Strong fire in the Autodromo de Termas de Río Hondo. Several fire crews work. VIP area, press room, broadcast booths and the entire box sector. They try to prevent the fire from reaching the Juan Manuel Fangio Museum. Sad images come from the place
There’s an ongoing investigation into the cause of the fire, but so far, no one has any idea exactly what started it. The pit building took the brunt of the damage once the fire was cleared, which includes the media center, VIP entertainment areas, and race control. Thankfully, it sounds like the Fangio museum has escaped any significant harm, and no one was present at the time of the fire.
From a circuit statement:
The museum will reopen to the public in the next few days. The track has full insurance against fire, so the issue of economic damage is covered in that sense, but it will surely take a long time to rebuild this important area necessary for national and international competitions.
Thank God, there were no victims to mourn, and we want to thank all those who collaborated in this incident that generated moments of great danger due to the high winds. Many thanks to various fire department staff, police officers, municipal staff and track workers, they did everything they could to prevent further damage. We will work from now on to do everything possible to meet the schedules we have planned, including the MotoGP in November.
In the wake of the incident, several of the most important items in the museum have been transported to a different location, and the circuit is looking to implement further safety measures to protect it against future incidents. But until we know the cause of the fire, it's going to be tough to take precautionary measures.