Lisbon, June 18 (IANS) At least 24 people were killed and 20 others injured in a fire at the municipal terminal of Pedrogao Grande in central Portugal, police said.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the toll might increase, reports Efe news.
He termed the Saturday incident “the worst human tragedy of recent times”, adding that the priority now was to extinguish the blaze and provide assistance to the victims.
Many of the victims died trapped in their cars while trying to flee the blaze, whose cause was not yet known.
Two people were reported missing, the police added.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who has travelled to the region to assess the situation, said high temperatures and winds have hampered efforts to put out the fire, which has destroyed a number of homes in the area.
A senior official, Joao Gomes, said the fire spread in a way “that defies explanation”, highlighting the difficulties rescue and emergency workers were having in gaining access to the affected areas.