At least 16 people have been killed and 24 injured in a fire at a juvenile prison in El Salvador.

The fire broke out on Wednesday at the rehabilitation centre on the outskirts of Ilobasco, a town located 75km northeast of San Salvador, the capital.

"We have taken 23 injured to hospital, and the number of dead could reach 22," said Violeta Polanca, a police spokeswoman .

The victims were aged between 18 and 25. Most of the injured were taken to hospital for treatment of burns.

A reason for the incident has yet to be confirmed, but some officials said it may have been caused by an electrical short circuit.

Source: Agencies