Argentine officials say a fire in a crowded nightclub has killed at least 175 people and injured more than 600 others in the capital, Buenos Aires.

Officials say the blaze - one of the worst in the nation's history - broke out Thursday night during a concert at the popular Cromagnon Republic disco club, attended by more than 2,000 mostly young people.

Witnesses say the blaze started when someone fired a flare into the club's foam-covered ceiling. That caused burning debris to fall on the crowd as the building filled with thick smoke. There was a resulting stampede as people rushed to find exits.

But many at the scene say that some of the exits were blocked, hampering escape and rescue efforts.

The disaster is similar to one in 2003 at a nightclub in the northeastern U.S. state of Rhode Island. One hundred people died in that blaze.

Authorities are investigating the deadly incident.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.