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Portugal explosion and fire kills eight, injures 50

15 January 2050

At least eight people have been killed and 50 others injured after a blast in a heating boiler triggered a fire at a community centre in northern Portugal on January 14. More than 60 people were at the centre for an amateur card tournament or were watching football on TV when the blast happened, with the fire igniting material in the roof and spreading quickly, causing panic.

The mayor of Tondela, José António Jesus, told Público newspaper that the fire quickly created a large amount of carbon monoxide. This, and dense smoke, may have disoriented people as they tried to escape.

The newspaper said glass wool in the roof may have contributed to the spread of the fire in the two-storey building.

Dozens of fire-fighters were deployed and the flames were extinguished in about an hour.

The Tondela area was badly hit by forest fires last October and local officials described the latest deaths as a "new catastrophe".

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