Fire ravages Honduran resort island

Tegucigalpa (AFP) –

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A major fire on a tiny Honduran resort island burned out of control Saturday, consuming homes and businesses and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate.

"We cannot stop it. It is uncontrollable," said Mireya Guillen, the deputy mayor of the island of Guanaja, located in the Caribbean off the north coast of mainland Honduras. Its 6,000 inhabitants live mainly from tourism.

A huge cloud of black smoke rose from the island, as military helicopters dropped bags of water on the flames.

Aided by police, people raced to save beds, furniture and other belongings as the blaze approached, video on social media showed.

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

It has consumed 30 homes and businesses and forced the evacuation of some 400 people, firefighters and other officials said. Four have been hospitalized with burns.

Guanaja, which measures 19 square km (7 square miles), is one of the three Bay Islands of Honduras. The others are Roatan and Utila.