AT least five people including three children have been killed in a horror tower block blaze on Thursday.
Screaming kids were seen trapped on balconies as the inferno spread through the high-rise in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Two women and three minors who were evacuated from the 14-storey tower later succumbed to their injuries in hospital, local health officials said.
Unconfirmed local reports claim two of the children were aged three and the third was eight, according to Buenos Aires Times.
"There are five fatal victims, three minors and two adults, we don't know their ages," emergency services chief Alberto Crescenti told BA Times.
A further 19 people have been transferred to hospitals in Buenos Aires, some reportedly with serious injuries including a pregnant woman and four kids.
In total, at least 35 people have been injured in the blaze.
One eyewitness who lives in the apartment block in the Recoleta area of the city told La Nacion: "There are still neighbours trapped."
The fire broke out just before dawn local time on Thursday.
Another resident told reports she heard a loud "explosion" just before dawn.
"Cries for help were heard, we saw children, there was a lot of smoke," she said. "I saw two children as if leaning out on the balcony."
At least 25 ambulances have been scrambled to the scene.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Most read in News
Pablo Giardina, deputy commander of the Buenos Aires Fire Department, told Cronista the fire broke out on the seventh floor and then "spread vertically to the department on the eighth floor".
He added: "We continue to go floor by floor for the people who stayed in other departments because we want to know if they inhaled smoke."
A nine-year-old girl was treated with oxygen at the scene by fire crews.
Cronista also reported that a pregnant woman and an elderly woman in a neck brace were evacuated from the building.
Another nearby resident who lives down the block from the building said they heard a blast at some time between 4.30 and 5am.
"A few minutes later you started to feel the smell of smoke and you could hear a person desperately asking for help," he said.
"After 10 minutes, we opened the window and we already saw that the balcony was full of fire.
"Immediately the firefights, the police, and an ambulance arrived."
Presidential Spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti said the government would ensure "full collaboration with everything that is necessary."
Pablo Gardina confirmed that the fire was now under control but said gas remained switched off for the block as a precaution.