Multiple injuries in Honduras island fire

AAPReuters
A fire has broken out on the resort island of Guanaja, off the coast of Honduras. (file)
Camera IconA fire has broken out on the resort island of Guanaja, off the coast of Honduras. (file) Credit: AP

Multiple people have suffered smoke inhalation and burns as an island off the coast of Honduras that doesn't have a fire department tried to stamp out a blaze that surprised residents.

The fire on the archipelago of Guanaja had affected about 2500 people, reported El Heraldo, citing Copeco, the civil defence agency.

There were also reports of 12 houses destroyed, at least two suffering burns and multiple cases of smoke inhalation.

It was unclear how fire suppression efforts were going. Copeco tweeted that the fire was about 90 per cent under control.

But, only hours before, the newspaper La Prensa had quoted Deputy Mayor Mireya Guillen speaking of an out-of-control situation.

"The fire keeps growing and has already destroyed half of El Cayo. We can't stop it. It's uncontrollable," she told the newspaper, referring to one of the Gaunaja's main islands.

The Caribbean island chain lies about 70 kilometres off the Honduran coast. Most of its 5000 residents live on El Cayo, which also houses the Health Ministry, administrative offices, banks and stores.

But the fact the island is so built up is now feeding worries about the scope of potential losses. There are concerns that there could be explosions due to the ferocity of the flames and the presence of petrol stations.

According to El Heraldo, residents are fleeing the island by boat to save themselves from the fire. At least 400 people have made their way to safety this way, authorities said.

Compounding the problem, there are no fire crews on El Cayo, which is often called Honduras' Venice due to its many waterways. To make up for a lack of firefighters, support has been called in from the nearby island of Roatan, as well as from the country's navy and air force.

"At the moment we need help with everything: food, clothes, water and oxygen tanks," according to an air force tweet citing Guillen.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

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