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Fire Ravages Honduran Resort Island


Locals refresh themselves following a fire in Guanaja island, in the tourist Islas de la Bahia, Honduras, on Oct. 2, 2021.

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

"The fire is 100% controlled," said the head of the government's Permanent Intervention Commission (COPECO), Max Gonzales, at a midafternoon 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 accommodations were set up in a church and a school.

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

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

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