BUENOS AIRES, June 23 (Xinhua) -- At least five people were killed and 35 others were affected Thursday when an apartment caught fire in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, local authorities and medical personnel confirmed.
The fire started at 5:45 a.m. local time in an apartment while the occupants slept, and then spread to the upper floor, forcing the evacuation and rescue of the people living in the 14-story building in the Recoleta neighborhood of northern Buenos Aires.
The five fatalities, three children and two women, lived in a seventh-floor apartment where the fire started, according to police reports released to state news agency Telam.
Alberto Crescenti, director of the Emergency Medical Assistance Service, explained that due to the amount of smoke inhaled by the five victims, it was impossible to save their lives.
During a press conference Thursday morning, presidential spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti said, "We send our condolences to the families of the victims and our support for all that is necessary to the city government and the families to overcome this tragic situation."
The operation to control the fire and help those affected took more than three hours and involved 20 ambulances to transport the injured to six hospitals.
As a preventive measure, capital authorities ordered the total shutdown of gas supply in the area, in addition to the evacuation of a fuel service station nearby.