At least 8 dead, dozens injured in Portugal building fire

The fire broke out in the town of Tondella

Mayor Jose Antonio de Jesus said: "Several dozen people have been injured, some lightly and others gravely, and are still being assisted".

Although the cause of the fire is yet to be established, firefighters at the scene said the blaze was likely the result of a wood-burning heater exploding. The fire triggered panic and led to a stampede, according to Reuters.

They said people crowded the exits as thick smoke filled the building.

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A heater is thought to have exploded at a packed residents' association building in the small town of Vila Nova da Rainha where an amateur card tournament was taking place on Saturday night.

The Tondela area was badly hit by forest fires last October and local officials described the latest deaths as a "new catastrophe". Some of the injured have been shifted to hospitals in Lisbon and Porto.

Portugal suffered from its deadliest ever forest fires past year, which killed a total of over 100 people - the worst loss of human lives in living memory in the country.

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