RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Firefighters in the World Cup city of Natal said they were concerned about some safety problems in the stadium hosting its first match on Friday, even as a bus strike in the city forced officials to scramble to find alternative transportation for some fans.
Lt. Christiano Couceiro told the UOL news portal that a Thursday inspection of the Arena das Dunas found some problems, including some missing guardrails to keep fans from falling and temporary seating that wasn't bolted to the structure.
He also said that an area with 11,000 temporary seats had not yet been inspected by his department.
Inspectors returned to the stadium early Friday, but Couceiro said FIFA officials barred them from entering the stadium.
FIFA didn't have an immediate response to the Natal fire department's concerns.
"On Thursday, we could say that 95 percent of ... the stadium was within regulations. I don't know if they've fixed things now," Couceiro told UOL. "It could be by match time 100 percent of the structure is complete."
The fire official said he reported his findings to the Rio Grande do Norte state security secretariat and told them that "any incident that occurs in the stadium will be the responsibility of the organizers."