At least two women died and a child is missing after a fire broke out in a large house near the office of Panama's president, authorities and media outlets said Monday.
A mother and daughter who jumped from a balcony of the burning building died later in a hospital.
Housing Minister Edgardo Lasso said that 48 families lost everything in the blaze and another 10 families were evacuated from an adjacent house until the condition of the buildings can be evaluated.
The ruined building is privately owned and will probably not be repaired due to the extensive nature of the fire damage, Lasso told Channel 2 television in Panama City.
Meanwhile, a mother who lived there is awaiting information about one of her babies, who has been missing since Sunday night.
The fire forced dozens of tourists to be evacuated from nearby hotels, fire department officials said, adding that firefighters still have not been able to enter the damaged building due to the piles of collapsed and charred ruins blocking the entryways.
Firefighters have closed off access to the street where the destroyed building is located but the affected families are remaining in the area awaiting government aid.
The blaze, the cause for which is not yet known, was reported around 9 p.m. on Sunday by several passersby via the social networks, where they posted photos of the three-story house near the capital's cathedral and said that they had heard several explosions there. EFE