x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

At least 8 killed and dozens hurt in fire and stampede in Portugal

Officials did not say what had caused the fire, but local media reported an explosion of a heating boiler

At least eight people have been killed and dozens injured in a fire and stampede in a local leisure association in the town of Vila Nova da Rainha in northern Portugal on Saturday night, officials said.

Mayor Jose Antonio de Jesus said in televised remarks that more than 60 people had been taking part or watching a card tournament in the two-storey popular gathering place of the town 260 kilometres northeast of Lisbon when the fire erupted.

"Several dozen people have been injured, some lightly and others gravely, and are still being assisted," he said.

He did not say what had caused the fire, but local media cited firefighters on the spot as saying that an explosion of a heating boiler was the likely cause.

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