Deadly fire swallows Gaza refugee camp building

STORY: According to health and civil emergency officials, residents were attending a party there when the blaze broke out and several others were injured.

It took firefighters more than an hour to control the massive flames that burst through the top floor of a four-story residential building in the densely-populated Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip.

General Director of Police In Gaza, Mohammed Salah, said authorities were investigating the cause of the fire, while the Interior Ministry said an initial investigation revealed that large amounts of gasoline had been stored at the site, fuelling the blaze that quickly engulfed the building.

Witnesses said they could hear screaming but they could not help those inside because of the intensity of the fire.

One witness, Ahmed Akel, said he saw flames tearing out of the building window as people began calling the fire services. "The fire had engulfed the whole building when the ambulances and police arrived." he added.

Ambulances rushed several injured people to local hospitals, and Israel, which together with Egypt maintains a blockade on Gaza, said it would allow in those in need of medical treatment.

Jabalia is one of eight refugee camps in Gaza, home to 2.3 million people and one of the world's most densely populated areas.