More than 200 people died in a massive fire at a prison in Honduras after a riot, officials said on Wednesday, warning that the death toll could rise further.

Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world, according to the United Nations, and struggles with youth street gangs in overcrowded jails.

The prison, which houses 800 inmates, was in the town of Comayagua, about 75 kilometres (45 miles) north of the capital Tegucigalpa.

Security Minister Pompeyo Bonilla said the death toll was more than 200, while local forensic officials said it was at least 272.

This is a preliminary report, there could be a lot more deaths, said Lucy Marder, head of forensic services in Comayagua.

Local firemen said they were prevented from entering the prison due to gunshots. Local media reported prisoners were trapped in their cells.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Philip Barbara)