Fireworks explosion in Venezuelan weapons store

An explosion of fireworks stored at a weapons business in southeast &to=' target=_blank>Venezuela caused a fire that has killed at least 10 people and injured five after consuming nearby stores packed with shoppers, authorities said.

Ten bodies had been recovered from the fire, which broke out Monday afternoon in the southeastern city of San Felix, local fire chief Maj. Felido Jimenez told the state-run Bolivarian News Agency, or ABN.

Some local authorities and media reported higher death tolls. ABN said the remains of eight employees and an undetermined number of shoppers were trapped in the wreckage, while Union Radio reported at least 20 dead.

Antonio Rivero, a director with the national civil protection services, said five people were injured and indicated that the death toll would likely rise.

Five neighboring stores packed with shoppers were destroyed in the fire, and Rivero said other bodies could still be trapped inside those buildings.

Officials also said firefighters were unable to access certain areas as high temperatures and the threat of remaining &to=' target=_blank>weapons cartridges detonating caused difficulties.

It was not clear what set off the fireworks in the shop in downtown San Felix, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) southeast of Caracas.

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