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Public health minister Julio Cesar Velazquez told reporters, "I have never seen a disaster like this. The firefighters were taking out, as best as they could, the bodies, the injured and people suffering from smoke inhalation.
"They are still taking bodies out of the supermarket," Paraguay's police chief Humberto Nunez told Reuters.
Some witnesses said victims were not able to escape the flames because the exits had been locked, possibly to avoid robberies, a claim denied by Juan Pio Paiva, the supermarket's owner.
The fire began on the first floor of the building and -- in addition to causing the fatalities -- left hundreds of people with severe burns and asphyxia.
Police said they were probing reports shoppers were trapped inside after the supermarket locked its doors to stop people looting or leaving without paying.
Firefighters found its main door closed when they arrived, police said, but supermarket officials denied doors had been locked.
(AP) The death toll from a weekend fire at a supermarket shot up by more than 100 Tuesday, reaching 464, as a security guard told investigators he received orders to lock the building's doors just after the blaze began, officials said.