Madagascar house fire kills 38

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A house fire in Madagascar has killed 38 people, including 16 children.

The blaze ripped through the three-storey thatched home during a party, police said.

The incident occurred on Saturday in the south-central district of Ikalamavony, according to local media reports.

The reports said the blaze started in the outside dining area of the house, and a police spokesman said it was being treated as an accident.

"Of the 39 people in the house, 38 were killed, including 16 children," the spokesman, Herilalatiana Andrianarivosona, told Agence France-Presse.

Panic-stricken guests were reportedly unable to escape the burning building after struggling to open the only exit door.

Those outside the house were unable to help.

The owner of the house and his 14-year-old son survived the fire, news website Midi Madagasikara reported.