Rescue officials in Venezuela say seven people were killed and at least four others injured when a family's private stockpile of gasoline exploded.

Fire officials say four children were among those killed in Tuesday's blast in the Andean state of Merida, some 500 kilometers west of the capital, Caracas.

Many Venezuelans are reported to have begun storing gasoline to offset severe shortages caused by a seven week old nationwide general strike.

Authorities have warned citizens against storing fuel because of the risk of fire.