Fire ravages Honduras' Caribbean resort island of Guanaja

Smoke billows from a fire on the island of Guanaja, Honduras, in this screen grab taken from a video. PHOTO: REUTERS

TEGUCIGALPA (REUTERS) - Authorities managed to bring a major fire on a tiny Honduran resort island under control on Saturday (Oct2), after the blaze consumed dozens of homes and forced 400 people to evacuate.

"The fire is 100 per cent controlled," said the head of the government's Permanent Intervention Commission, Max Gonzales, at a mid-afternoon press conference.

A huge cloud of black smoke rose in the early morning from the island of Guanaja, located in the Caribbean off the north coast of mainland Honduras. Its 6,000 inhabitants live mainly from tourism.

Military helicopters dropped bags of water on what the island's deputy mayor Mireya Guillen described as "uncontrollable" flames.

Aided by police, people raced to save beds, furniture and other belongings as the blaze approached, video on social media showed.

Videos shared by local media showed the extent of the devastation, with "90 houses destroyed, 120 damaged... 2,500 people directly affected, three injured and three others to be confirmed," Gonzales said.

The blaze also forced the evacuation of some 400 people, firefighters and other authorities added.

Emergency accommodation was set up in a church and a school.

The fire started for unknown reasons in the early hours of Saturday in seaside homes and spread quickly.

Guanaja, which measures 19 sq km, is one of the three Bay Islands of Honduras. The others are Roatan and Utila.

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