A huge fire destroyed some 150 humble dwellings in a poor section of the Peruvian Amazon city of Iquitos, the police said.

Gen. Jose Cespedes, director of the Peruvian National Police's East Region, said on the local Canal N television channel Thursday that the blaze had been brought under control by volunteer firefighters, who had difficulties in reaching the area on the banks of the Amazon River.

According to media reports, firefighters and local residents had to get water from the nearby river to douse the flames and, at the same time, had to keep a number of criminals from looting their belongings.

"All the fire departments took part as did the National Police with a great many officers. We don't know the causes, everything is under investigation," Cespedes said.

The head of the regional National Defense office, Robert Falcon, told the official news agency Andina that the fire devastated one of the poorest districts of the city, where the houses were made of wood.

Falcon declined to give an official report of the damages, though he did say that at least 100 homes were affected in the Iquitos district of Belen. EFE.